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Richa Elangovan

on 18 February 2013

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By Richa, Afrah & Pema Refugee Blue How does Auden encourage the reader to sympathize with the refugee couple in the poem? “Say this city has ten million souls”
This is an imagery that shows that there are a lot of people who are all the same despite the different religions.

“some are living in mansions, some are living in holes;” All the people are the same yet there is economic contrast between the people. The contrast is shown by the words “mansions” and “holes” which represent luxury and poverty.

“yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.”
The writer is telling his loved one that despite how people are surviving either by living in mansions or in holes, despite the vast economic contrast there was still no place for the couple to fit in. He uses repetition to emphasize on how homeless they were which evokes pathos.

“in the village churchyard there grows an old yew” The writer uses imagery to show the sacredness of the churchyard and the old yew making the village seem almost like heaven giving them a sense of hope.

“The consul banged the table and said” The action of the council is rude and not nice. It seems that the people in general are angered by the couple and the people in the positions of authority can’t and won’t help them. The couple are alone and helpless.

“If you’ve got now passport you’re officially dead”
This is again quite harsh, without the passport they are as good as dead. The couple is stuck in the problem because they couldn’t leave the country or stay at home. This makes the reader sympathize with them because there is nobody to help or support them. It is only them against the world.

'Saw a poodle fastened with a pin, saw a door opened and a cat let in' this is a very emotive line as it makes us feel bad for how we treat animals with much more care but cannot care for our own race, creates sympathy towards the two as they are worth nothing and animals are in a better and safer state than them.

The writer makes it sound even more bad the public basically thinks 'If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread' it makes the refugees sound like thieves, hungry thieves. which they aren't and makes them sound like some sort of dangerous creature that everyone else fears

'Thought i heard the thunder rumbling in the sky' the writer uses onomatopoeia here to emphasize the bad weather which was metaphor for 'Hitler over Europe' saying 'they must die' this line makes them sound like deadly creature that need to be removed sounding very inhuman creating sympathy towards them as they're being treated very different and wrong. 'they offered me a chair;.... return next year' the fact they've been asked to return next year shows how uncaring people are towards specific type of people, basically eliminating them from the rest of the world.

'but where shall we go today my dear, where shall we go? the sentence gives the reader a helpless fell, they're lost and stuck and have nowhere to go with no help at all, creating sympathy towards both the people. ‘Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay’ this shows that the couple are trying to escape and start a new life but the next line makes us, the readers, sympathise with the couple because they think that even the fishes are not free but in a delusion. They might have thought like this probably due to the situation they are in.

‘Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away’, creates a sense of frustration and once again we sympathize with the couple because even though they are only ten feet away, which is not that far, this may sooner lead to their deaths and the repetition emphasises this.

So now the couple is trying escape through the forest and then they blame politicians for their situation, ‘they had no politicians and sang at their ease’. The couple compares the birds’ life to humans’ and this develops a minor theme of wildlife vs. humanity. ‘Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors’ This imagery shows how many buildings there were and how many people lived in it in contrast to the couples. The fact that the couple were not able to live in any one of these thousand floors evokes pathos, ‘Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.’ ‘Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro: Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.’ The last two lines make the end of this poem sound beautiful and dangerous because the soldiers were not looking for the couple but they were searching for the Jews indeed. Basically the last stanza summarizes the whole poem and it makes clear that the couple are being hunted just like how animals hunt their prey.
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