How Does Auden Tell the Story in Miss Gee? Essay

504 WordsNov 23, 20143 Pages
Alexander Weston-Noond How Does Auden Tell The Story In Miss Gee? Auden tells the story of 'Miss Gee' through the voice of a third person narrator, presumably Auden himself, who offers a commentary on the poem, showing no emotion or bias towards her story. The narrator uses a variety of different voices, such as the voice of Miss Gee, Doctor Thomas and his wife to carry the story forward. The use of Miss Gee’s direct speech in the sixth quatrain, coupled with the rhetorical question, begins to provoke sympathy in a reader- she is talking to a “starlight”, expecting it to answer all her questions. The story is told through the use of 25 quatrains in ABCB rhyme, to the tune of “St James’ Infirmary”. This is an old blues standard poem about death and the black and working class, which supplies a comical juxtaposition to the prim and proper Miss Gee. Furthermore, it foreshadows the later theme of death and sets in motion a morbid aspect to the poem. By giving the poem a blues rhythm, this makes the poem seem less serious and more light-hearted. The regular rhythm and rhyme connote the ordinariness of Miss Gee, and the restricted nature of her character. The story of Miss Gee changes perspective in the seventh quatrain- whereas we before have been reading a real-life story, we now enter an imaginary world, when Miss Gee “dreamed a dream one evening”. WH Auden uses pathetic fallacy to tell this part of the story- “a storm blew down the palace”- which not only conveys Miss Gee’s own depressed thoughts, but foreshadows the collapse of her life when she is diagnosed with cancer. In Miss Gee’s dream, a bull is present, and Auden writes “it was going to overtake”. Auden uses this imagery to physically present the cancer taking over Miss Gee’s body, personifying the cancer as the bull. Alternatively, the power and dominance of the “bull with the face of the vicar” could
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