The piece of literature I selected for the analysis is Doggerel by a Senior Citizen by W. H. Auden. I believe that it is the poem reflecting the attitude (to people and the world as a whole) that is still relevant today and is shared by many.
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It was typical of Auden in his late writings to address the problem of dissatisfaction of people with their environment that aggravates loneliness, misunderstanding, and self-destruction. He wrote several self-revealing works presenting him as a recluse, who is deeply nostalgic of the world of his early years that would never come back. Doggerel by a Senior Citizen is one of the most demonstrative poems of the kind. It begins with the following stanza (Auden, 2017):
Our earth in 1969
Is not the planet I call mine,
The world, I mean, that gives me strength
To hold off chaos at arm’s length.
These lines give us a picture of an old man who believes that the world has changed for the worse since the time he was a child. It could be regarded as typical grudging of an aged person; yet, if we look closer at the things he enumerates, it becomes clear that the old man not only criticizes the present chaos but also looks into the future. His speech addresses the issue of technological progress (“The automobile, the airplane,/ Are useful gadgets, but profane”) that is imposed on people but still cannot give them feelings that they miss (“Reason requires that I approve/ The light-bulb which I cannot love”); it dwells upon degraded morals of the society indulging in self-satisfaction and sin (“Sex was of course – it always is –/ The most enticing of mysteries,/ But news-stands did not then supply/ Manichean pornography); finally, it also ironically comments on the state of literature and arts (“I cannot settle which is worse,/ The Anti-Novel or Free Verse) (Auden, 2017).
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Thus, it is evident that the problems described by the lyrical hero are strikingly similar to those we have to encounter today, which makes the poem relevant indeed.
Auden, W.H. (2017). Doggerel by a Senior Citizen. Web.