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This is an exemplar essay writing by one of my Year 10 students, responding to the essay question: Why do emos write poetry?

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  1. 1. A preoccupation with the Human Condition prompts emo poets to write poetry. Emos arepeople who think about the human condition and emo poets write about their thoughts orquestions on humanity. The Human Condition is a main part the majority of emos poetrybecause it is a theory that deals with the inescapable features of being human. Poets suchas Yeats and Auden use aspects of the Human Condition, such as isolation, immortality,existentialism and freedom, as a main theme in their poems Sailing to Byzantium and TheUnknown CitizenFeelings of isolation are created in W.B Yeats poem Sailing to Byzantium in which Yeatstalks of his separation from the world of the young and his longing and desperation for theafterlife. Rhyme "Caught in that sensual music all neglect monuments of unageing intellect"emphasises the idea that Yeats feels unwanted and neglected by younger generations whocare more about the physical pleasures of life then the intellectual pleasures which hecreates. This makes his audience think more about how ignored intellectual literature, andin turn Yeats, is by the young who arent interested in learning or arts and more so in theirsocial lives. Moreover, first person narrative Sailing to Byzantium allows W.B Yeats toexpress the loneliness he feels from being unaccepted evident in "THAT is no country for oldmen" which demonstrates that he feels like an outsider from life that is going on aroundhim. This makes the reader feel sympathetic towards Yeats but also nervous for their ownfuture and the realities of old age. Furthermore, imagery in "An aged man is but a paltrything, a tattered coat upon a stick" forces the reader to picture Yeats as someone who isold, falling apart and broken, and conveys the idea that Yeats is seen by everyone assomeone who has nothing left to offer the world. Humanity fears isolation from each other THIS IS THE WORK OF GEORGIA RUTHERFORD AND COPYRIGHT BELONGS TO HER
  2. 2. and emos are people who experience a feeling of isolation, so emos such as Yeats usepoetry as a way to articulate their feelings on their isolation.Desire for Immortality is also captured in W.B Yeats poem Sailing to Byzantium. Metaphoris present in the lines "Consume my heart away; sick with desire and fastened to a dyinganimal". Yeats expresses the feeling that his body is animalistic and dying while his soulcould be immortal if impure desire was removed from it. The intense desperation Yeats iscommunicating unsettles the readers, making them sympathetic towards his obvioussuffering. In the line "Nor is there singing school but studying" Yeats declares the only wayto be immortalised is through studying the "Monuments of unageing intellect", which is theart and literature that is so important to him. Through this, the reader begins to understandhow important poetry is to Yeats and how he wishes to become immortalised through it.Symbolism is used in the lines "And therefore I have sailed the seas and come to the holycity of Byzantium" to convey the idea that he has died and gone to a place that is hissymbolic afterlife. The use of the word holy would make the audience imagine a place thatis beautiful perfection and think that perhaps Yeats will finally get his wish to be immortal.Immortality has long been a concern of those who are interested in the Human Condition,so emos such as Yeats use poetry as a way to express their worries with life and what comesafterwards.W.H Auden was an emo poet like Yeats was because although his opinions were different,he too was fascinated with aspects of the Human Condition. Conformity of society is afeature that is presented throughout W.H Audens poem The Unknown Citizen which tellsthe story of a man who had, according to society, the perfect life and yet only ever did whatwas expected of him. The point of view the poem is written in is very important to portray THIS IS THE WORK OF GEORGIA RUTHERFORD AND COPYRIGHT BELONGS TO HER
  3. 3. Auden’s ideas on conformity. The poem is written from the point of view of the voice of anofficial. The line "And our Social Psychology workers found that he was popular with hismates and liked a drink" creates the idea that the unknown citizen had no privacy and thatofficials could find out anything they wanted to know about him. This suggests to the readerthat the officials were powerful and perhaps influential enough to persuade the unknowncitizen to act a certain way. The rhyme structure is also a vital component of this poem as isdisplayed in the line "Except for the War till the day he retired he worked in a factory andnever got fired". Although most of the poems rhyme structure is complex, some lines rhymeto emphasis certain points. The simple rhyming structure of this couplet seems to reflect onhow simple the unknown citizens life was and how he was always doing what he wassupposed to do. The reader would focus on the rhymed lines and recognise the importanceof them through the simplistic presentation. Mood is another technique used in ‘TheUnknown Citizen. The mood is deliberately detached and emotionless throughout thewhole poem, so as to convey the idea that there was nothing unusual about the unknowncitizen. This can be unnerving for a reader because they do not want to accept the effectand forcefulness society has to make people conform. Society tries to make everyoneconform, emos see this and emo poets such as Auden write poetry to express their ideas onconformity.Existentialism, or the search for meaning in a meaningless world, was a dominant feature ofW.H Audens poem The Unknown Citizen. Rhetorical questions are used at the very end ofthe poem in the line "Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd: Had anythingbeen wrong, we should certainly have heard" to suggest that although the citizen had aperfect sort of life, it had no meaning because he was never happy and he never did THIS IS THE WORK OF GEORGIA RUTHERFORD AND COPYRIGHT BELONGS TO HER
  4. 4. anything meaningful. These questions confront the reader and force them to rethink theirviews on what a good life really is. Furthermore, rhyme "The press are convinced he boughta paper every day and that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way". Thebasic rhyme structure in this line emphasises how normal and dull the unknown citizens lifewas. It forces the reader to reconsider what they think of as normal. When life is sorepetitive it can lose all meaning, W.H Auden used this line to express how everyday livescan be completely meaningless. Irony is evident throughout the entirety of the poem andespecially in the line “That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint.”Although the quote suggests the unknown citizen was a good person, the underlyingmessage is that he always did what he was supposed to, not because he wanted to butbecause it was expected of him. The reader is confronted by this message because it forcesthem to wonder if there is any meaning in doing good things if they are only done becausethey’re supposed to be done. Many emos are interested in existentialism and humanitiesconcern with having meaning, Auden managed to use his thoughts on this to write a poemthat is thought provoking and confronting.Originally, emos were not people who were depressed or people who listened to a certaintype of music, but people who were interested in the core features of being human. Emosare people who see the world and questioned it. W.B Yeats and W.H Auden are both emopoets because they are questioning the world and humanity, and expressing their individualthoughts through their poems. Emos write poetry to communicate their ideas on thefeatures of the human condition. THIS IS THE WORK OF GEORGIA RUTHERFORD AND COPYRIGHT BELONGS TO HER