The Express Summary

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The Express by the Auden Generation poet, Stephen Spender is a modern Romantic Poem glorifying the Express train in motion, which can be regarded as a symbol of industrial revolution. The poem is an answer to the degenerating world of the 20th century, with hardly anything to speak or think of imaginatively. With the steaming Express train placed beyond "the bird's song" & "boughs breaking with honey buds", the poet drives home the message that the new age Romanticism will not wither away. A true Romantic is likely to find new "wild happiness" from amidst the machines, gas works and pistons. The poem is literally “a living poem in motion" with its alliteration, blank verse and concrete images covering power and glory, death, metaphysical transcend. It's a personal meditative poem starting from the plain of reality and ascending to the realms of metaphysical. In the first stanza, Spender personifies an Express train and compares it to a queen. Just like a declaration of an arriving queen, the Express makes its assertions in the form of its loud whistle and puffs of black smoke venting out its chimney. Then, with an aristocratic majesty of queen, it slowly makes it move, in an imperious and stately motion. The houses surrounding the railway tracks seem to be making way for the Express’ passage just like people do before a queen is to proceed. They stand humbly and the queen crosses, without even noticing their great reverence, as she is so used to these customary yet mandatory reverence paid to her. Something like this is the glory of the initiating Express train too. The train covers a long journey and passes through a variety of places, cities, towns and villages. It passes through factories and then to those out skirts or neglected areas where the dead lie (graveyards). Beyond the country’s last limits, it moves in to open fields and spaces and instantly seems to
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