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Freedom and Equality in Poems of the 1930s
Pages 8 (2008 words)
In the book A Twentieth-Century Literature Reader: Texts and Debates (Twentieth-Century Literature: Texts and Debates) by Suman Gupta, Virginia Woolf is quoted to have said that the poets of the 1930s "feel compelled to preach, if not by their living, at least by their writing, the creation of a society in which everyone is equal and everyone is free…
This is the reason why their poetry are instructive and moralistic. It is not art for art's sake alone but art as a social tool to teach and reach people, moving them to act and do something for the society and the nation as a whole.
The following three poems from Robin Skelton's Poetry in the Thirties will prove or disprove what Virginia Woolf says about the poetry produced during the 1930s. These are September 1, 1939 by W. H. Auden; Different by Clere Parsons; and Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines by Dylan Thomas.
This nine-stanza poem of W.H. Auden is an example of what Virginia Woolf calls a poem of the 1930s that contains "the pedagogic, the didactic" and "the loud-speaker strain" calling for "the creation of a society in which everyone is equal and everyone is free."
The first stanza critiques the system as "low dishonest decade" where "The unmentionable odour of death/ Offends the September night." Feelings of uncertainty, fear, hopelessness and anger dominate this stanza. It is a prologue to the situation that the state or society is at the moment of writing.
According to the second stanza, the cause of the dilemma can be explained and be traced back to history. ...
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