Compare and Contrast the ways in which the poets, U. A. Fanthorpe and W. H. Auden effectively explore the theme of prejudice in their poems, “You will be hearing from us shortly” and “Refugee Blues. ” The poems, “You will be hearing from us shortly” by U. A. Fanthorpe and “Refugee Blues” by W. H. Auden both explore the themes of prejudice and stereotyping. Fanthorpe does this through a job interview in which the candidate being interviewed probably will not be accepted for the job because the interviewer does not think he or she is acceptable.
The interviewer thinks this because the candidate lives in a council estate, which shows that this poem is about class discrimination. In contrast, Auden’s poem is about two Jewish Germans who have been forced to escape their country because they are being persecuted. However, other countries will not accept them as asylum seekers. This shows that Auden is exploring prejudice through racial and religion discrimination. Both poems are in the form of a conversation.
Fanthorpe’s poem shows the interviewer as the main speaker with gaps for the candidate’s replies even though what the candidate says is not shown: “What qualities do you feel you Personally have to offer? Ah” Whilst, the main voice in Auden’s poem is one of the refugees who is discriminated against however, this person refers to his or herself and his or her companion: “Yet no place for us, my dear. ” The interviewer in Fanthorpe’s poem does not listen to anything that the candidate has to say about him or herself.
He or she just carries on patronizing and intimidating the candidate. This is perhaps why, there is a gap for the candidate’s answer because it shows his or hers irrelevance to the interviewer. The interviewer’s patronizing tone is clearly intimidating the candidate because it causes the interviewer to become abusive. This makes it clear that the interviewer has already got in mind the kind of person the person he or she feels is acceptable for the job. This is why the candidate has to start defending his or herself right at the start of the interview:
“You feel adequate to the demand of this position? What qualities do you feel you Personally have to offer? ” This undermines the candidate because what he or she is defending cannot be defended. At this point the candidate will be feeling as though he or she is not good enough for the job because he or she cannot describe their quality. The interviewer’s responses to what the candidate says are very defensive giving implication that he or she believes that the candidate is not qualified for the job: “Ah”
In the second stanza of Auden’s poem, the refugee says that: “Once we had a country and we thought it fair. We cannot go there now my dear. ” This implies that the two refugees love their country and do not want to leave it but have been forced to turn to asylum something they do not want to do but have no choice which contrasts with the candidate in Fanthorpe’s poem who actually wants the job. There is a point in Fanthorpe’s poem where the interviewer attacks the candidate’s age:
“Now your age. Perhaps you feel able To make your own comment about that Too? ” This gives the impression that the interviewer wanted someone young but not too young making it obvious that the candidate does not have this requirement. The interviewer also begins to discuss the candidate’s appearance and accent which links together because it gives the impression that the interviewer thinks that the candidate is uneducated. However it is obvious that the candidate is educated through the quotation:
“Your qualifications though impressive,” which means that the only reason the interviewer finds the need to discuss them is because he or she finds them unacceptable. This proves that the interviewer does not have any compassion for the candidate. This is similar to the person in Auden’s poem who would not give the refugees the chance they needed instead they tell the refugees: “If you have no passport you’re officially dead” which contradicts the fact that the refugees are alive and can be seen.
This then connects part in the poem where the refugee mentions Hitler’s comment: “It was Hitler over Europe saying “They must die” He was talking of me you and me, my dear” Because it shows that like the interviewer in Fanthorpe’s poem, Hitler also lacks compassion for the Jews. The interviewer in Fanthorpe’s poem then goes on to ask the candidate when or where he or she was born, however when the candidate answers, the interviewer replies with, “Yes pity” indicating that he or she believes that the candidate should not have been born in the first place.
This links to the altimate ending “Glad we agree” which demeans the candidate making them also feel that they should not have been born. In both poems, there are assumptions made about the people being discriminated, which are not true. In Fanthorpe’s poem, the interviewer assumes that because the candidate lives in a council estate, he or she must have in problems like financial difficulties and domestic violence: “…………………… we do not Ask what domestic disasters shimmer Behind that vaguely unsuitable address. ”
In comparison, the refuges in Auden’s poem are stereotyped as thieves: “If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread” which indicates that people are not willing to invite them into their countries because they fell that their governments will give them everything like jobs and homes and make the citizens of those countries second priority. Auden shows that animals are often treated better than humans in the quotation, “Saw a door opened and a cat let in But they weren’t German Jews my dear. ” This image is taken further with the quotation
“Saw a fish swimming as if they were free. “Walked through the woods, saw the birds in the trees They had no politicians and sang at their ease They weren’t the human race, my dear,” Which indicates that the animal kingdom treat each other with a lot more love and respect something that the human race, which is meant to be the most intelligent of all living organisms, cannot do. Both poems end with us feeling sorry for the people being discriminated against.
We feel sorry for the candidate in Fanthorpe’s poem because it is clearly evident that he or she will not get the job and we feel for the refugees in Auden’s poem because they will never be treated in the same way as every one else. We also feel sorry for them because, their discriminators will never give them the chance to prove them wrong so the candidate in Fanthorpe’s poem may end up experiencing problems like financial difficulties because his or her chance of a way out has been taken away whilst the refugees in Auden’s poem, will become thieves stealing people’s “daily bread” because that it is the only way that they can survive.
U. A. Fanthorpe and W. H. Auden both effectively explore the themes of prejudice in their poems, “You will be hearing from us shortly” and “Refugee Blues” through looking at stereotyping from one viewpoint. Fanthorpe uses the viewpoint of a person that discriminates which shows how demeaning and intimidating discrimination can be whilst Auden uses the viewpoint of someone being discriminated against which brings to light the hurt, pain and exclusion they feel. This helps us to comprehend how unfair and callous prejudice is.