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The Age of Anxiety

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:28 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 71.6 
  • Words: 2831
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The themes and ideas in Auden's _The Age of Anxiety_ reflect his belief that man's quest for self actualization is in vain.




  I.   Auden's background


A.   As a 1930's poet


1.   Views of Society


2.   Diagnosis of the industrial society


B.   Major conflicts of his works


  II.   _The Age of Anxiety_ overview


A.   As a quest poem


1.   Characters' search for self-actualization


2.   Characters' inevitable failure in the quest


B.   Characters' views on the general situation


1.   Their belief to be in Purgatory when they are allegorically in Hell


2.   Their disbelief in impossibility


III.   _The Age of Anxiety_ character analysis


A.   Quant


B.   Malin


C.   Rosetta


D.   Emble


  IV.   Part I


A.   Commonly called "Prologue"


B.   Introduces scene and characters


C.   Characters think aloud to reveal their nature


1.   Quant views himself with false admiration


2.   Malin examines the theoretical nature of man


3.   Rosetta endeavors to create an imaginary and happy past


4.   Emble passes his youthful judgment on the others' follies


  V.   First act of Part II, "The Seven Ages"


A.   Malin's domination of this act


1.   Serves as a guide


2.   Controls the characters through his introduction of each age


B.   Others support Malin's theories by drawing from past, present, and potential future experiences


C.   The ages


1.   The first age


a.   Malin asks the reader to "Behold the infant"


b.   Child is "helpless in cradle and / Righteous still" but already has a "Dread in his dreams"


2.   The second age


a.   Youth, as Malin describes it


b.   Age at which man realizes "his life-bet with a lying self"


c.   Naive belief in self and place in life is boundless


d.   It is the age of belief in the...

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