Cynddylan On A Tractor Analysis

This essay sample essay on Cynddylan On A Tractor Analysis offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion are provided below.

Discuss the infinite variety of complaints shown in different forms in the poems ‘The Unknown Citizen’ by W. H. Auden, ‘Naming of Parts’ by Henry Reed, ‘Cynddylan on a Tractor’ by R. S. Thomas and Do not go gentle into that Good Night’ by Dylan Thomas. Each of these four poems has a prominent theme of complaints or complaining, although each poem laments about something different.

The poets use a variety of linguistic techniques to display their feelings to complain and vent their anger, including tonal shifts and the use of words from certain semantic fields.

‘The Unknown Citizen’ by W. H. Auden is an ode to mediocrity. It complains about the way people are numbered and labelled by various organisations so that they can be clustered and sorted to generate lists of facts and figures about society in general.

It is also a complaint about the boring and pointless life, that people are said to have, projected by these details. Auden’s use of language within this poem is particularly interesting and he uses a variety of linguistic techniques to get his point across.

The title itself, ‘The Unknown Citizen’, has connotations to the famous Unknown Soldier, which represents all missing soldiers, and the reader immediately associates the two, connecting this ‘Unknown Citizen’ to be representative of all normal people.

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The title indicates that the person described in the poem is completely unknown and Auden backs this point up with the number he gives the citizen, indicating that this person is so anonymous he is only justifiably identified by a number and not a name.

Tractor Poem

Auden varies the length of lines dramatically throughout the poem and this is perhaps to add swiftness and pace to a mediocre subject, however Auden does use enjambment, i. e. ‘He worked in a factory and never got fired/But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc. ‘ to continue his feelings onto the next line. The effect of this enjambment is that the syntax, rhythm and thought are continued onto the next line, whilst ensuring that the lines are not too long (as this would reduce the poem’s rapidity).

Auden writes in rhyme to give this poem regularity and pace and uses rhyming couplets, such as ‘the question is absurd/we should certainly have heard’; to give the poem (or it’s verses) definite, tidy endings. One very interesting observation on Auden’s use of language is that he does not use a very critical and complaining lexis, but prefers to grumble through the use of irony, a technique used throughout the poem.

For example, he suggests that it takes important psychologists to work out that ‘He (i. e.the subject of the poem) was popular with his mates’, which is hardly surprising as everyone is popular with friends, and that it took researchers to discover that ‘he held the proper opinions for that time of year’, which suggests that opinions are only seasonal and do not depend on the person’s character. Auden complains by pointing out the irony in grouping an unknown person into a group to find out who they were and what they were like and tries to draw attention to the fact that there is no such thing as an average person.

Auden wants the reader of his poem to discover that the pompous views of such psychological and educational organisations hold no value when talking about an individual person, which is why he rants about the boring and pointless life such average people are supposed to lead. Henry Reed’s ‘Naming of Parts’ demonstrates the contrast between the harsh realities of the military with the beliefs of a romantic young soldier.

In the context of a complaint, it laments about the everyday mechanical organisation of the military and perhaps is a complaint that there is no romance in the daily life of a recruit, or perhaps in life itself. Reed uses the contrasting halves of each verse to illustrate the vast difference between the unforgiving, monotonous, mechanical organisation in the armed forces and the romantic visions of a young poet. He does this by distinguishing between the cold and emotionless drill instructions for army recruits and the passionate beliefs he embraces.

Like W. H. Auden, he fails to use a lexis that is very critical or complaining, but instead uses two contrasting lexis’ to poetically describe nature’s romance, where words such as ‘blossom’ and ‘glistens’ are used, and the opposing mechanical structures he deals with, where Reed uses words including ‘flick’ and ‘swivel’. To complain, Reed uses a technique of repeating what his drill instructor has said and almost ‘translating’ it into his own, amorous tongue.

An example of this is when he ‘converts’ the drill instructors directions on how to slide the bolt ‘rapidly backwards and forwards’ to open the breech of a gun to a sexual metaphor of ‘bees rapidly assaulting and fumbling the flowers’. The effect these ‘translations’ have on Reed’s piece is that they add overemphasis (they are hyperboles) on the romance in nature and they intrude and ignore the voice of his unromantic drill instructor.

Instead of openly complaining about the mechanical tone of life, Reed overrides his teacher’s commands with romantic notions. ‘Cynddylan on a Tractor’ by R. S. Thomas is essentially a complaint about the removal of man from the soil and his dependence on machinery. The quote ‘He’s a new man now, part of the machine’ sums up Thomas’ belief that when man meets machine then the person ceases to be human. Thomas uses an irregular rhythm, some lines link whilst others don’t, to highlight the modifications in the relationship between man and earth.

Like W. H. Auden, R. S. Thomas uses enjambment to link ideas to one another, to ensure that the syntax, rhythm and thought of one line are continued onto the next, whilst ensuring that the lines are not too long and an example of enjambment in this poem is ‘Mirror of silence, emptying the wood/Of foxes and squirrels and bright jays. ‘ Thomas also uses other linguistic techniques to convey his message, including personification to present things which are not human as if they were human, i. e.

‘His nerves of metal’ and ‘His blood oil’ link Cynddylan to the machine and presents him as part of the mechanism. Another interesting element of the poem is where Thomas says ‘His engine runs on a different fuel’. This likens Cynddylan to the tractor as it describes Cynddylan as having an engine and having to guzzle fuel as opposed to food like other humans. The lexis used within this poem is often associated with machinery, with words such as ‘metal’, ‘oil’ and ‘fuel’ often being used to show similarities between the tractor and its driver.

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Cynddylan On A Tractor Analysis
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