Why do emos write poetry?
The Human Condition reinforces the meaning of what it is to be human, and how specific features affect humans in a social, cultural and spiritual context. This theory does not associate with physical characteristics such as race or gender, rather our emotional characteristics such as fear, curiosity and search for purpose. Emos address the human condition in the way that they emphasize the concern of self-awareness and thrive on the inevitability that is life. Poetry has been around for thousands of years and has been both a form of art and self-expression. So why do Emos write poetry? It seems as though many influential people in our culture today would be classified as Emos. William Shakespeare, Oscar the grouch, Lilly Allen and My Chemical Romance are some famous emos that are known worldwide. Emos are an outspoken people and poetry is a powerful way of voicing their views, feelings and understandings towards the world and the people in it. W.H Auden and W.B Yeats are two well known “emos” and poets who challenge the ideas of life after death, eternal life and social conformity. The poems ‘The Unknown Citizen’ and ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ are examples of why emos write poetry, and how it is effective in today’s society.
The Fascination with death and an afterlife is presented in Yeats' poem, 'Sailing to Byzantium'. Personification, “Consume my heart away; Sick with desire…..” provides the human heart with the ability to literally feel sick with pain and provokes the responder to feel empathy for the agonising old man. Alliteration is used to further support the poet’s fascination with death. “Whatever is begotten, born and dies…” and challenges the meaning of life, presenting a dull, cynical view on the human condition and why we are on Earth. Rhyme is a technique used throughout Yeats’ poem to create a rhythm and emotion for the poem. “And therefore I have sailed the seas and come, to the Holy City of Byzantium…” and prompts the reader to imagine an afterlife. Death can be a frightening topic and haunts the hearts of many. Emos in particular seem to have a sinister interest with death and the afterlife, possible in response to a deep-seated fear of death . Yeats has skilfully used poetic techniques to confront responders with the idea of there being more to life than just being born and dying.
Immortality and the idea of being able to live forever are challenged in Yeats’ poem, ‘Sailing to Byzantium’. Emotive language is a techniques used in Yeats’ poem. “Once out of nature I shall never take my bodily form from any natural thing…” suggests the possibility of reincarnation, and challenges the responder to question the permanence of death. Furthermore, Personification “Into the artifice of eternity…” suggests that eternity is tricky to comprehend and has cunning characteristics, Which encourages the responder to think of eternity and how it is not a simple bliss, but a complex thing to understand. Alliteration is a simple but effective technique that Yeats has used to persuade the responder to see his point of view and accept his idea of immortality. “Of what is past, passing or to come…”Alliteration in this quote creates a rhythm supporting the mystery and wonderment presented. Our biological forms have limitations that no medical engineering can change. We are mortal, and even though we have anti-ageing everything, we are still mortal and we will still die one day. Immortality is the idea of being able to live forever and is a common theme in Yeats’ poem. Emos question how inevitable human lives are and if such life has any meaning or purpose.
Conformity and social obedience ideas presented by Auden in the poem ‘The Unknown Citizen’. Rhetorical questions are used by the poet to provoke a response from the audience. “Was he happy? Was he free?” captures a sense of the citizen’s imprisonment by society and prompts the reader question their own freedom. It makes the viewer wonder if he had any say in his life, or if he just did what everyone told him was socially acceptable. The poems central metaphor “He was a Saint…” supports the poems theme of conformity and it portrays the citizen as perfect, although he was not literally a Saint. This citizen was obviously highly accepted in society because he managed to meet with all the social standards, and is recognised as a “saint” by the Bureau of Statistics. Conceit is an important technique that Auden has used throughout his poem. Some examples of conceit in this poem are, “He was fully sensible to the advantages of the instalment plan, and had everything necessary to the modern man”, “His reactions to advertisements were normal in every way”. These two quotes carry out a conceited idea that this citizen was in fact in control of his life. Today’s society controls and decides the majority of what humans do and how they act. Emos are very cynical about this world and this is an example of the need for acceptance being expressed through poetry. Auden has challenged the responders of this poem to see that our world is materialistic, superficial and run by a higher power.
Oppression is also a crucial idea expressed in Auden’s poem, ‘The Unknown Citizen’. The poet uses irony throughout his poem to show how inferior the unknown citizen was to the higher power. “Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard”, conveys the disinterest of the government wrong in the citizens life. This “perfect” citizen’s voice was not valid in the eyes of the Bureau of statistics, they were just happy for him to be seen and not heard. Another example of irony is “Had everything necessary to the modern man, a phonograph, a radio, a car and a Frigidaire” reminding the reader that the government was trying to sell these material possessions as accomplishments that the citizen had made, when really, they weren’t accomplishments at all. The citizen’s life was just collateral damage for the Bureau of Statistics. He was just another statistic to them. This gives the responder the impression that the government disregarded this soldier as nothing but a man who did what he was told. The epigraph in this poem is central in capturing the responder’s attention regarding the oppression in society. “To JS/07 M 378 This Marble Monument Is Erected by the Sate” The epigraph is actually a cold, impersonal dedication, written on a marble tombstone by the government for a soldier that has passed away. Auden’s point may not be directly aimed at the government like in the poem, but at us as a society. Mainstream society are in fact the oppressors and emos are the outspoken and oppressed. This poet has shown that poetry can be used as a voice for the unheard.
In conclusion, both Yeats and Auden have sufficiently used a range of poetic techniques to connect with their responders, to voice their views on the world and to challenge the ideas of life after death, eternal life and social conformity . Emos have a lot of deep emotions and radical views on society. Writing poetry is a powerful and effective way to express to the world how they feel. People of all ages can connect with poetry and analyse it in their own way, it is an interpretive art form and emos have taken to connecting to the world through pen and paper when their own voices could not be heard.
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