It is interesting to find that a recurring theme of class struggle can be found in the poems of WW.H.Auden. Marx has once remarked that class struggle is common in every kind of society. It is worthy to quote him as he says-
“the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. The modern bourgeois society hasn’t in any way attempted to minimize class distinctions. it has cleverly replaced the old conditions or oppression with new ones.”
Auden is a kind of person who believes in such viewpoint and it is one of the reasons that in his verse we can find class struggle in abundance. He equals Marx in the concerns like a continuous rift and gulf between the rich and the poor. It has been said about the bourgeoisie that they are devoid of feelings. It becomes clearer from the following lines of his poem-
“As the hawk sees it or the helmeted airman:
The clouds rift suddenly – look there
At cigarette-end smouldering on a border
At the first garden party of the year.
Pass on, admire the view of the massif
Through plate-glass windows of the Sport hotel;
Join there the insufficient units
Dangerous, easy, in furs, in uniform
And constellated at reserved tables
Supplied with feelings by an efficient band
Relayed elsewhere to farmers and their dogs
Sitting in kitchens in the stormy fens.”
The lines which have been quoted above are taken from Auden’s poementitled“Consider This And In Our Time”. Auden believes that all the people in the society either rich or poor must have a feeling. This feeling is supplied by an efficient band. Its music acts like a connecting link between the rich and the poor farmers. The word ‘stormy fens’ reflects rebellious hatred of the farmers who always dream of equality. They are bound to overwhelm the rich class. A continuous social revolution can be seen in those lines when the poet whacks upon the financier, dons, and the clergy. He also makes them aware of the situation by warning them-
“Financiers leaving your little room
Where the money is made but not spent.
You ll’ need your typist and your boy no more:
The game is up for you and for the others.”
With increasing socio-economical disparity the conflict between the rich and the poor also increase. This conflict between the classes is alarming. Working class who earn bread and butter with honesty are deprived of decent living whereas the ruling class achieve everything without working. They control the “complicated apparatus of amusement”. Auden writes in “Refugee Blues” that-
“Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.”
Auden is not that kind of person who shows only the problem but he has a complete analysis of the situation. This situation becomes inert unless some revolutions try to break into the massive walls of disparity. Auden is optimistic enough to watch the downfall of capitalism.
Your straight approach impresses. Please explain the poem CONSIDER THIS AND IN OUR TIME by W.H. Auden. Your clarity makes understanding of the text interesting.