W. H. Auden: Poems

Hunting Season

Can anyone help me analsye this poem? It is hardly featured on Google searches.

I have of course made my own analysis but am interested as to how other people read this poem and would like to compare with my own thoughts and findings.

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Hi, i analysed this as part of a comparison with another poem. I'll try and share what i found

Subject: hunting

Form: three identical stanza's- which later helps in understanding the true purpose of the poem

rhyme scheme: consistent (abcb, dd) with rhyming couplets at the end of each stanza

Rhythm: inconsistent, however whilst the poem flows with the rhyme, we should suspect that there is some uncomfort in the poem

Tone/mood: sombre, dull, grave

Diction: repition of death, found in 'lifeless', 'dying' and 'suffocated'

Narrative: 3rd person

Overall meaning: the persona describes how the huntsman goes from one prey to another. this can be seen in the jumping of one stanza to another. Each is indetical, like the ritual of hunting becomes. It is seen as a sport many a times- without true value for life. The persona undestands the loss that occurs, and almost gives the animals human characteristics to help portray this. He uses enjambent and causera to help emphasise the disreagrd people have for the lives of others. Here you could bring in Auden's background to say that it helps reflect what he saw during the WWII and how eventually killing humans becomes the same as killing animals.

The tone and mood are sombre beacuse the poet doesn't agree with what is happening and we notice the negative mood instantly. This is how the rhyme and rhythm can be linked. While many see it as a sport- nothing wrong with it. there should be conscience that we live by when killing. 3rd person narrative is objective, yet the persona still forces us to re-evaluate social norms that people follow.

Sorry if it was quite brief, im sure there's a lot more than can be analysed from this poem also. It's rich with meaning :)

Hope it helps

This seems to me to start off as a poem intended to say something powerful about nature and the fact that man is a predator, but the vocabulary used negates that idea - the words "trundle" and "bundle" are quite colloquial and make it sound as if Auden is poking fun.

This is also suggested in stanza 3, when he refers to the poem as "deathless verse", which is a bit of a cliche. It used to be a powerful phrase when it was first used to describe, say, Homer's epics, but is now used tongue in cheek, for instance to describe the really bad verse by McGonagall in the Tay bridge Disaster.

Taking the poem stanza by stanza - stanza 1 simply describes the way a hunter will kill an animal or bird and bring it home to be cooked. There is a feeling that the poet is sorry for the animal, calling it some "he or she" to give it a more human shape, and referring to the hunter as "some example of our tribe" as if he is an anthropologist and the hunter a subject for study.

Stanza 2 compares lovers, man and woman, and tells us how like hunter and hunted they are, although he gives the woman more power in the man's eyes by suggesting that her "witch's heart" is an "oven" just as in Hansel and Gretel, she intends to cook and eat him.

There is an interesting idea here, a powerful point to be made about hunting and about the relationship between the sexes, as well as about the need for humans to hunt and kill. However, Auden seems to run out of steam, whether intentionally (as suggested by the fact that he uses colloquial language from the start) or because he just hasn't got the words to make it work. He refers to the hard chair to tell the reader he's feeling physically uncomfortable and needs to move, he refers to the poem as "deathless prose" so putting himself down, and then tells us he's having a meal of fish, another living thing, so he's no better than the hunter he's been looking at, and is human too.