Select Page
IGCSE Set 2 Refugee Blues by W.H Auden Model Essays Question 05

IGCSE Set 2 Refugee Blues by W.H Auden Model Essays Question 05

Edexcel English IGCSE: Refugee Blues Model Essays

Q5. How do other people contribute towards the experiences of the refugees in ‘Refugee Blues’?

In your answer, you should think about:

  • the refugees’ experiences in their home country;
  • the reactions of other people in the refugees’ new country;
  • the writer’s use of language techniques.

You should refer closely to the poem to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

 

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

The tragic circumstances of the refugees in this poem seem even more unjust because they are not to blame for any of their misfortunes. They were chased from their home for being Jewish, and are still unwelcome in their new country.

The refugees are victims of the Nazi regime in Germany, which is why they have fled to a safer country. The trauma of this experience is captured in the narrator’s inability to escape the memories. The sound of “thunder rumbling” reminds him of Hitler’s voice; the assonance in this description creates a sinister tone. The refugees also feel personally victimised by Hitler’s regime: “We were in his mind, my dear”. Particularly with the moving address to his loved one, this line suggests that Hitler was thinking specifically of these two people when he demanded the extermination of all Jews. The memory of the soldiers hunting for Jews is described in similarly personal terms: “Looking for you and me”. These personal references highlight the plight of individual victims of the Nazis.

Once they arrive in their new country, the refugees are still made to feel unwelcome by people supposed to help them. The consul “banged the table”, showing that he is angry and frustrated by them. In fact it is he who is being frustratingly illogical, by declaring them “officially dead” because they don’t have the correct paperwork. There is cruel irony that they have escaped death in their own country, just to be declared ‘dead’ in their new country, because of the illogical bureaucratic system. A committee is similarly unhelpful: “they offered me a chair”. This is a play on words: on one level, it means that they simply asked him to sit down; however, it also reflects the fact that they were offering him something entirely useless. They can provide him with somewhere to sit, but not somewhere to live.

The existing citizens of the new country are also very unwelcoming to the refugees, contributing to their experiences of rejection. The poem opens with the hyperbolic observation that “this city has ten million souls”, and yet none of them are able to offer a place for the refugees. By using the word “souls” instead of “people”, the writer gives the image a religious element, making it more sad and unreasonable that people are so uncharitable. Similarly, a public meeting shows the hostile reception of the refugees. Someone accuses them of wanting to “steal our daily bread”, suggesting that the refugees are less deserving of food rations, just because they were not born in that place.

The refugees are in this new place through no real choice of their own. Nonetheless, they are continually rejected and victimised by the residents of the supposed city of refuge.

Students also browsed:

IGCSE Set 2 Refugee Blues by W.H Auden Model Essays Question 04

IGCSE Set 2 Refugee Blues by W.H Auden Model Essays Question 04

Edexcel English IGCSE: Refugee Blues Model Essays

Q4. In ‘Refugee Blues’, how does the writer use contrasts to show the situation of the refugees?

In your answer, consider:

  • the refugees’ past and present situation;
  • the refugees and the people living in the city;
  • nature, animals and humans;
  • the use of language.

You should refer closely to the poem to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

The contrasts throughout this poem highlight the injustices faced by the refugees. There are contrasts within the refugees’ life histories, with the residents of the city and between nature and humanity.

There is a contrast between the refugees’ lives before and after they had to leave their home country. This is expressed explicitly in the second stanza. The expression “we had a country” shows their attachment to Germany; they felt ownership over it, creating a sense of true belonging. This makes their current displacement more tragic. The contrast between “Once” beginning the stanza and “now”, repeated at the end, creates a poignant sense of longing for the past. This attachment to the past is not just nostalgic, however. The narrator is still haunted by past experiences: he hears Hitler’s voice in “thunder rumbling in the sky”.  This suggests that perhaps the contrasts between his past and present states are not as strong as they should be; they still feel vulnerable.

Despite the fact that the refugees have been forced to come to this new place, they are treated very differently to the current residents of the city. The first stanza highlights the contrasts between the rich and poor in the city with a repeated structure: “Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes”. However, despite this vast inequality, the refugees are in a worse situation than any of them, because they have no place to live at all. The refugees are also viewed as qualitatively different to the local residents. A speaker at a public meeting accuses them of wanting to “steal our daily bread”, as if they are less deserving of rations than non-refugees. The Christian connotations of “daily bread” also add a religious element to these perceived differences.

The writer also creates a contrast between nature and humanity, to show the inhumaneness of the refugees’ treatment. The narrator sees “the fish swimming as if they were free”, showing that animals in nature can roam free and happy, even if they are trapped in water. This is not the case with the refugees, whose movement is restricted by their paperwork. He also sees “birds in the trees” who “sang at their ease” because they are not at the mercy of powerful and tyrannical politicians, like the refugees are. The carefree song of the birds is in direct contrast to this poem, which is entitled and structured as a “blues” song, which is a song of suffering. These contrasts with nature show how unnatural it is for the refugees to be in such misery.

The refugees are in a miserable and unjust situation. It is made to seem even worse because of the contrasting affluence and freedom around them.

Students also browsed:

IGCSE Set 2 Refugee Blues by W.H Auden Model Essays Question 03

IGCSE Set 2 Refugee Blues by W.H Auden Model Essays Question 03

Edexcel English IGCSE: Refugee Blues Model Essays

Q3. How does the writer show that the refugees’ situation is unfair?

In your answer, you should write about:

  • the challenges faced by the refugees;
  • the contrasts in the poem;
  • the use of language.

You should refer closely to the poem to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

The refugees are not welcome in their new country, although they are there through no fault of their own. Their unfair treatment is heightened by the contrasts in the poem.

The key problem faced by the refugees is that they have nowhere to go in their new country, even though there are “ten million souls” in the city already. This number is hyperbolic, but highlights the injustice of the city failing to fit in just two more people. People who are supposed to help them, such as the consul and a committee, are utterly unhelpful. The consul angrily tells them that they are “officially dead” according to their paperwork, which is a surreally illogical comment, showing the unfair bureaucracy of the system. The committee, which has presumably been put together to help refugees, tells them “politely to return next year”. Their politeness is ironically useless, since they are unable to provide the refugees with what they really need: somewhere to go “to-day”.

The injustice of their poor reception is made even worse by the fact that they have also been unfairly chased out of their own country, because they are German Jews during Nazi rule in Germany. The narrator expresses his confusion at their treatment in their home country by portraying the actions of the Nazis as specifically victimising them: “we were in [Hitler’s] mind”, and there were “ten thousand soldiers” who were searching for “you and me”. The huge force of Hitler, reflected by the sound of his voice in “thunder”, and his large army are portrayed as tyrannising these two innocent victims. This highlights the injustice of the persecution of all the Jews in Germany: innocent civilians were criminalised and hunted by a hugely powerful army.

The use of contrasts in the poem further emphasise the unfairness of the refugees’ ordeal. The narrator notes the way in which domesticated animals are treated – by being given clothes and let into houses – which contrasts with the treatment of “German Jews”. This shows that the refugees are given even lower status than animals in their new ‘home’. There are also contrasts between nature and the refugees’ situation, showing the unnaturalness of the bureaucratic system which is preventing the refugees from gaining the help they need. There is an “old” tree which “blossoms anew” each year, and this is contrasted with their “old passports” which cannot be renewed. The repetition of the adjective “old” highlights the contrast between the natural tree and the unnatural paperwork.

The refugees did not ask to be in this situation, which makes the hostility of their new hosts all the more unfair. The contrasts with nature show the senselessness of a bureaucratic system which undermines the humanity of the victims.

Students also browsed:

IGCSE Set 2 Refugee Blues by W.H Auden Model Essays Question 02

IGCSE Set 2 Refugee Blues by W.H Auden Model Essays Question 02

Edexcel English IGCSE: Refugee Blues Model Essays

Q2. How does the writer bring out the thoughts and feelings of the refugees in ‘Refugee Blues’?

In your answer, think about:

  • the situation the refugees are in;
  • other people’s reactions to the refugees;
  • the contrasts in the poem;
  • any other interesting use of language.

You should refer closely to the poem to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

The refugees are experiencing rejection, having already been forced to leave their home country. Their sense of justice is captured through the use of contrasts.

Before they even arrive in this country, the refugees have experienced great trauma. They are German Jews who have been forced to leave Germany because of Hitler’s anti-Semitic regime. The refugees are still frightened by their experience, and feel personally victimised by the regime. In “the thunder rumbling in the sky”, the narrator hears Hitler’s voice, showing that they are haunted by their experiences, and still feel unsafe. At the end of the poem, the narrator remembers the dangers of living in Germany: “Ten thousand soldiers marched […] Looking for you and me”. The striking contrast between the huge number of soldiers, and their two victims creates a tone of confusion and despair; they cannot understand why they were hunted.

The refugees are not well-received in their new country, and experience rejection from the people they encounter. The consul “banged the table” and declares them “officially dead”, suggesting that he is angry and frustrated with them. The injustice of this bureaucratic problem is captured in the narrator’s bemused reaction, “we are still alive, my dear”. The repetition of this phrase creates a wistful and almost apologetic tone, showing that they are not deliberately causing a problem. A member of the public also accuses refugees of wanting to “steal our daily bread”. Again, the narrator reacts with bemusement and depression, with the repeated phrase “he was talking of you and me”. This expresses surprise at such a hostile accusation, again highlighting that their intentions are not to cause trouble, but just to be safe.

The refugees are made to feel that they have an even lower status than animals in their new country. The narrator contrasts their homelessness with the treatment of domestic animals: a poodle is wearing a jacket, and someone opens a door to let in a cat. This observation shows that even animals are treated better than German Jews. The narrator also comments on the unnaturalness of their treatment by contrasting their predicament with the relative freedom of nature. The birds “sang at their ease” because they are not at the mercy of tyrannical politicians; this is in direct contrast to the “human race”, who are forced into singing songs about their suffering, such as this “blues” poem. The contrasts with nature’s freedom show that humans have created an unnecessarily complex system, which has turned the innocent refugees into victims in both their home and new countries.

The refugees have to endure many trials, but the tone in this poem is not angry or violent. Rather, they are weary and bemused about the injustices of their situation.

Students also browsed:

IGCSE Set 2 Refugee Blues by W.H Auden Model Essays Question 01

IGCSE Set 2 Refugee Blues by W.H Auden Model Essays Question 01

Edexcel English IGCSE: Refugee Blues Model Essays

Q1. How does the writer try to make the reader sympathise with the refugees in the poem?

In your answer, you should consider:

  • the challenges the refugees face;
  • the reactions of the narrator to their situation;
  • the contrasts in the poem;
  • the use of language.

You should refer closely to the poem to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

By presenting the challenges faced by the refugees, Auden creates sympathy for these fictional characters, and for the many refugees that they represent. The narrator’s lack of anger and use of contrasts further provoke pathos in the reader.

The refugees experience many sympathy-inducing challenges. They had to leave their home country because they are German Jews. They cannot return to Germany, but there is nowhere for them to stay in the country where they have sought refuge. This lack of belonging is expressed through pitiful phrases such as “there’s no place for us” and “we cannot go there now”. The bureaucratic system undermines the refugees’ humanity: they are “officially dead” as they don’t have passports. This is poignant and ironic: they have come to this country to avoid death, but are told that their lives are worth nothing if they do not have the correct paperwork.

The narrator reacts to these dreadful challenges with patient, bemused hopelessness. The final line of each stanza contains repetition and the phrase “my dear”. This is evocative of American ‘blues’ music: a genre associated with the expression of suffering. This recurring repetition creates a sense of disbelief. For example, a tone of confused horror is created in the final stanza, in which the narrator describes a dream in which “ten thousand solders” were “looking for you and me”. The huge number of soldiers is contrasted with “you and me”, making the refugees sound vulnerable and heavily outnumbered. It highlights the senselessness of this victimisation, since these people are clearly innocent, and do not deserve to be treated in such a way.

Contrasts between animals and humans also create sympathy for the refugees. For example, the narrator notices “a poodle in a jacket” and “a door opened and a cat let in”, showing that the refugees, who have nowhere to go, are of a lower status than animals in this place. The narrator also uses an extended contrast between nature and humanity throughout the poem. An “old yew” “blossoms anew” each year, whilst their “old passports can’t do that”. Here, the repetition of “old” highlights the contrast between the natural tree and the unnatural paperwork. The narrator also draws a contrast between birds who “sing at their ease” and the “human race”, who are doomed to sing sad songs such as this one. These contrasts highlight the unnatural and cruel nature of their situation, leading the reader to reflect on the terrible plight of the refugees.

By portraying the refugees as gentle and innocent, and highlighting the unnatural injustice of their situation, Auden creates a strong sense of pathos for these characters, and also for the many refugees of the Second World War represented by the voice in this poem.

Students also browsed:

免費
【DSE英文】高中生常犯的英文寫作錯誤系列

【DSE英文】高中生常犯的英文寫作錯誤

詳細內容

Free
Conjunction examples and pdf exercisesbecause in order to/so as to so so that although but so... that...

Conjunctions examples and exercises pdf – Course 1

See more...

免費
HKDSE Paper 2 Writing model essays 香港高級文憑試英文寫作卷二模擬作文

HKDSE Paper 2 Writing 寫作卷 Model Essays 合集

詳細內容

« » page 1 / 7

Pin It on Pinterest

error: Alert: Content is protected !!