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silence of things into its opposite” (185). It echoes constantly and breaks the sense of time in the present space. Moreover, it turns out to be an endless narrations as de Certeau demonstrates that “[n]arrations about what’s-going-on constitute our orthodoxy. Debates about figures are our theological wars. . . . They move forward camouflaged as facts, data, and events. They present themselves as messengers from a

‘reality’” (185). These pieces of information diffuse everywhere and anytime in daily life. The reality is disguised by the artificial authenticity in order to establish its authority. The perpetual narration, according to de Certeau, “constantly tells us what must be believed and what must be done” (186) and it is transformed into a law that people must obey.

In The Age of Anxiety, the media represents an unknown authority which attempts to dominate space by its tautology. The radio which is the medium for the strategic purpose is manipulated by the invisible force. Therefore, the following discussions will focus on the role of the radio and examine how space is altered by the radio and how the four characters operate their own methods to resist the cybernetic controlling.

3.2 News: Displacement

Displacement is one of the characteristics in the poem. Critics have disclosed that Auden employs Anglo-Saxon alliteration to compose the modern setting. The poem juxtaposes assorted elements. At the outset of The Age of Anxiety, there is a short Victorian poem quoted from Sabine Barring-Gould. Auden employs the poem to demonstrate the time: “Now the day is over, / Night is drawing nigh, / Shadows of the

evening / Steal across the sky” (CP 449). The time is at the dusk. It follows a

contemporary prose after the short poem to introduce the background of the four characters. The anonymous narrator indicates the differences between peace and war.

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In the peaceful period, the unknown narrator says that people will “wake up each morning excited by the prospect of another day of interesting and difficult work, or happily certain that the one with whom they shared their bed last night will be sharing it with them again the next” (CP 449). It seems that every day is a circle and a

repetition. People do not need to worry since “[t]here will always be enough lonelies and enough failures . . . nothing particular ever happens . . .” (CP 449). Everything will return and remain the same the next day. There is nothing particular to expect for.

However, everything changes during the war. It is a time that “necessity is associated with horror” and “freedom with boredom” (CP 449). In the war time, a bar is the place for people to escape from the real world. During this period, “everybody is reduced to the anxious status of a shady character or a displaced person,” and it is the time “when even the most prudent become worshippers of chance” (CP 449). War makes people anxious. It forces them to leave the familiar environment and friends behind, and become diaspora. People are no longer looking forward to another new day since it is the time when “the historical process breaks down” (CP 449).

The four characters immerse themselves into their meditations. There is only silence that exists in the bar. Emble observes other three characters and thinks that

“Estrange, aloof, / They brood over being till the bars close” (CP 453). These

characters contemplate without any communications. They do not articulate until the sudden break of the radio announcement. This technical sound is the first voice that appears in The Age of Anxiety. The unknown narrator says:

But now the radio, suddenly breaking in with its banal noises upon their separate senses of themselves, by compelling them to pay attention to a common world of great slaughter and much sorrow, began, without their knowledge, to draw these four strangers closer to each other. For in

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response to its official doctored message. (CP 454)

The source of the voice is unclear. The target audience of the radio is everyone and it also aims at no particular one simultaneously as de Certeau doubts that “who is speaking? To whom?” (157). Moreover, this sound is made purposely as de Certeau refers that “[t]he disappearance of the First Speaker creates the problem of

communication, that is, of a language that has to be made and not just heard and

understood” (sic) (138). The anonymous narrator calls the radio the banal noise which

attempts to compel the listeners to believe things that happen somewhere else. The goal of the absent speaker is not to communicate with someone while it has other purposes. These announcements are “official” which mean that they are manipulated by a censorship before their declarations.

The radio information penetrates through the society. The announcements mix or blur the division of being here and over there; moreover, they represent the

totalitarianism. Auden portrays a very contemporary situation that happens in daily life, that is, the popular technical sound. De Certeau claims that “[t]oday it is

‘recorded’ in every imaginable way, normalized, audible everywhere, but only when it has been ‘cut’ . . . and thus mediated by radio, television, or the phonograph

record . . .” (132). The radio disseminates the records repeatedly. Although it can be regarded as a noise, it brings the authority into the present moment. Paradoxically, it is both absent and present concurrently. The purpose of the information is to establish the authority but the wholeness relies on the fragmented pieces. As a result, the wholeness is founded within the fragmentation.

The first radio announcement is about the war news. Events occur by chance.

The news report collects those events in short phrases; therefore, events are replaced by the fragmentations. A piece of news contains various elements, that is, this

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information is delivered by the minimum descriptions to achieve the maximum quality. The news report attempts to enlarge its effects within the least words.

Moreover, behind the fragmented phrases are several events which are the representations of the entire events. The goal of the news report is to present the immediacy. The distance lives in the presence:

Now the news. Night raids on Five cities. Fires started.

Pressure applied by pincer movement In threatening thrust. Third Division Enlarges beachhead. Lucky charm Saves sniper. Sabotage hinted

In steel-mill stoppage. Strong point held By fanatical Nazis. (CP 454)

The radio broadcasts the latest news by saying “Now” to create the sense of emergency. However, there is always questionable about the meaning of now. The unknown speaker attempts to establish the sense of instance; nevertheless, the report cannot be parallel to any instant. Hence, this is a displacement in space. Space is dominated by these messages. The news is the simulacrum of the unidentified war. It is waged again through the announcement. This piece of information is censored by an authority. The composed words aim at making people believe and attract their attentions to the distant events. The victory of the unknown war is built by raiding five cities at night, by fires, by the pincer movement, by enlarging the beachhead, by the strong snipers, by the crazy Nazis,16 by the “heroic marines,” by the “tanks,” by

16 Both Auden’s life and works are influenced by the Nazi and the Jews a lot. Beth Ellen Roberts points out that Auden’s “most personal statement against Nazi persecution of the Jews came in 1935 when he married Thomas Mann’s daughter Erika, who was part Jewish, solely in order to provide her with a

the sacrifices of the “Cruiser,” by killing those reporters, and so on (CP 455). In order to achieve the victory, human beings are numb about the death of others. This voice, ironically, is the most powerful ruler that is one of the community but is indifferent about the human calamity.

The invisible force intends to establish a totalitarian society. According to de Certeau, this is a way of strategy. The strategic approach “is an effort to delimit one’s own place in a world bewitched by the invisible powers of the Other” and this

methodology is the very “typical attitude of modern science, politics, and military strategy” (36). The news casts a spell on the public and interrupts people’s life abruptly. Nevertheless, there is another way to go against the strategy, that is, the tactic. The circumstance of the tactic is in “a calculated action determined by the absence of a proper locus” (de Certeau 37). The existence of the tactic cannot be separated with the strategy. De Certeau implies the tactic “must play on and with a terrain imposed on it and organized by the law of a foreign power” (37). Consequently, there are two types of forces that struggle with each other in one situation. The

strategy attempts to control the wholeness while the tactic tries to resist the overwhelming power.

The tactic is the strength of the individual as de Certeau mentions that “a tactic is an art of the weak” and it is “a maneuver ‘within the enemy’s field of vision,’ . . . within enemy territory” (37). Under the auditory strategic propaganda, the four characters have their interpretations to resist the totalitarianism. The national victory is not equal to the individual success. The historical victory is a myth since there are

British passport. Throughout the 1930s and into the early 1940s, Auden’s poetry and prose demonstrate a one-dimensional understanding of Jews as victims of persecution, as an oppressed race” (“W. H. Auden and the Jews” 88). In The Age of Anxiety, one of the characters, Rosetta, is a Jew, and also experiences the diaspora. Gottlieb has already discussed about Rosetta’s religious confession in her article (“Time Tormented” 68-134).

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private stories beneath the surface. Malin recalls the time when he was in Canadian air force: “Untalkative and tense, we took off / Anxious into air; our instruments glowed, / Dials in darkness, for down was not yet; / Pulses pounded; we approached our target, Conscious in common of our closed Here / And of Them out There” (CP 455). Malin describes the battle scenes in the air. War includes both the national pride and the human’s sacrifices. For some people, the victory is the honor but the process of gaining the triumph brings much pain for others.

For Malin, war is the battle between “they” and “we” and between being here and over there. Flying in the air, Malin describes that “Death and damage darted at our will, / . . . we laid our eggs / Neatly in their nest, a nice deposit, / Hatched in an instant; houses flamed in / Shuddering sheets as we shed our big / Tears on their town . . .” (CP 455). As a military member, Malin obeys the command of the superior to strafe the bullet to the enemy’s land, to blow out the common people’s house, and to kill the innocent. Malin laments that “We fought them off / But paid a price; there was pain for some;” moreover, he is numb about the death of others: “We watched others / Drop into death; dully we mourned each” (CP 455). There is no hero, no victory, and no honor as the radio announces. The authority does not establish the sameness in the auditory space. Malin’s reminiscence is a crack within the

totalitarianism. Different situations increase the diversities in space.

The audience is the target for the strategic policy. Paradoxically, they are included and excluded in the auditory milieu at the same time. They receive the message as the audience but they do not participate in the events that they are told.

The news presents the events by the fragmentations but the receivers expand and explore more details within the minimum. Consequently, the audiences proliferate the single into the multiplicities. The tactic space implied by de Certeau is “the space of

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the other” (37). Tactic space crumbles the totalitarianism. Besides Malin’s perspective about war, Emble also mentions his navy experience. The voice of the radio aims to create the world of wholeness while the story of each character invents the world of diversity.

The individual story can be seen as the personal or the concealed history within the totalitarianism as de Certeau suggests that “stories are becoming private and sink into the secluded places in neighborhoods, families, or individuals” (108). Both Malin and Emble provide their personal perspectives to explain war. Death is the synonym of victory. Emble recollects:

A torpedo struck on the port bow;

The blast killed many; the burning oil Suffocated some; some in lifebelts Floated upright till they froze to death;

The younger swam but the yielding waves Denied help; they were not supported, They swallows and sank . . . . (CP 457)

The news report only simplifies the situation of marine war with one sentence:

“Cruiser sunk / In Valdivian Deep” (CP 455). The personal experiences or stories are the representations of the war. Both the radio announcements and the personal stories are the representations of the events. The radio announcements establish the sense of sameness and try to simplify the process. The totalitarianism concentrates on the minimum within the maximum while the individual stories explore the maximum within the minimum. The representations oscillate between the reduction and the enlargement. War remains the same whenever it occurs. The cruelty of war never reveals in the propaganda that emphasizes the efficiency, the data, and the information

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in time. The wholeness will never complete since there are always something missing, the hidden ones.

3.3 Commercial: A Fallacy

The media is censored by an unknown authority. In The Age of Anxiety, another example of the media is an advertisement about an obscure cleaner. The goal of the product is to eliminate the bad smell. Gottlieb indicates that the odorlessness is the

“goal of totalitarian organization as it uses the instruments of terror to desensitize the world” (77). The goal of the advertisement is similar to the news; both of them establish the sense of sameness. The undisclosed product persuades the audience to believe the efficacy of the magic prescription it offers.

The commercial consumption is also the totalitarian strategy. The media creates a myth of a commercial utopia and makes the potential consumers believe it. The products are all “the less visible because the networks framing them are becoming more tightly woven, flexible, and totalitarian” (de Certeau 31). The merchandise is

“quasi-invisibility” and “shows itself not in its own products . . . but in an art of using those imposed on it” (de Certeau 31). The commercial advertisement disseminates the product all the time but the customers cannot see the concrete commodity. They perceive the value of the object, not the product itself. As a strategy, the advertisement concentrates on the function of the goods.

The quasi-invisibility is the marketing strategy. The commercial strategy, according to de Certeau, is that “[w]hat is counted is what is used, not the ways of using. . . . Only the effects . . . of these waves that flow in everywhere remain

perceptible” (sic) (35). The benefits of the product are more important than the ways to use it and the product itself. Therefore, the values of the product become the selling points and the niches to be promoted. The credibility is built on the quasi-invisibility.

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The atmosphere of the present space will be changed by the radio broadcasting.

The first interruption is the news report which reminds the audiences of the outbreak of war. They are disturbed by the radio announcement: “Buy a bond. Blood saves lives.

/ Donate now. Name this station” (CP 458). The radio broadcasts the assorted

information and creates the sense of awkwardness. After this short interruption of the advertisement, the four characters start to talk about their thoughts. Rosetta points out the key elements of the news, that is, “Numbers and nightmares have news value”

(CP 459). This is the first time that the character speaks out in the poem. Before this short interruption, all of them keep their thoughts silently.

They fall into quietness once again. The bar remains voiced and voiceless. The radio interrupts again:

Definitely different. Has that democratic Extra elegance. Easy to clean.

Will gladden-dad and your girl friend.

Lasts a lifetime. Leaves no odor.

American made. A modern product

Of nerve and know-how with a new thrill. (CP 462)

Albeit the four characters stay in the same bar, the current milieu is altered by the radio announcement. The radio introduces an indiscernible object. The totalitarianism manipulates the advertisement to occupy space as de Certeau claims that “the growing mobility of the media as they conquer space. The consumers settle down, the media keep on the move” (165). The anonymous ruler possesses space by broadcasting continuously. This is a strategy that uses the quantity to conquer space. Therefore, the media is flowing back and forth and the values of the unknown object are praised intensely. These commercial words are “classifying, calculating and tabulating,” and

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these “‘lexical’ units, advertising words, television images, manufactured products . . . conform to those of industrial or administrative production” (de Certeau 34). The radio keeps on emphasizing the benefits without revealing the concrete products;

therefore, “no one knows what it is” (de Certeau 179). Citation is the strategy for the totalitarianism to dominate space. According to de Certeau, “[t]o cite is thus to give reality to the simulacrum produced by a power, by making people believe that others believe in it, but without providing any believable object” (189). The censorship endeavors to found the authority but it loses the credibility. What people can rely on is only the citation and they cannot perceive any believable objects over there.

The credibility becomes dubious and tottering. As a result, the society brims with suspicions. In her article, “Faith, Fantasy, and Art: The Detective-Deliverer in W. H.

Auden’s The Age of Anxiety,” Barbara Patrick has pointed out that “all the members of the community necessarily become suspects” (89) without knowing the reality behind the artificial surface. The world needs to be “clean,” and “Leaves no odor” in behalf of “democratic,” “American made,” “modern product,” and “Patriotic to own” (CP 462). The credibility and the suspicion struggle with each other. Therefore, in order to counteract the suspicion, the values of the unknown product must be certificated by the “profession” as de Certeau implies that “[i]t is as if belief could no longer be expressed in direct convictions, but only through the detour of what others are thought to believe” (188). These commodities have to be endorsed by the certain groups, such as “science,” “skilled Scotchmen,” “Exclusively used / By upper classmen and Uncle

Sam,” and “Tops in tests by teenagers” (CP 462). The object is separated from its

values. The attraction is not the merchandise but the aura of it. The benefits are manifested by certain groups in the society. Ironically, with the name of “democratic”

world, there still exists the hierarchy.

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Consequently, the promise of the commercial advertisement is a fallacy since no one knows what the product is. The product is a myth that is manipulated by an unknown system. Malin, as a result, questions about the “hidden worlds of alien sizes / Which lenses elicit?” (CP 463). For Quant, the illusions are the “blind heavens” (CP 463), which is distorted. The distorted illusions cause anxiety. After hearing the

advertisement, Malin implies that the gap between the product and its values is similar to the split between the mind and the body. Malin suggests that the mind and the body are isolated from each other nowadays and this divergence perplexes him: “. . . his tired mind / Biased towards bigness since his body must / Exaggerate to exist” (CP 463). The mind produces an illusion that the physical body is distorted so that it is hard to believe. The issue of mind will be discussed at greater length in the next

advertisement, Malin implies that the gap between the product and its values is similar to the split between the mind and the body. Malin suggests that the mind and the body are isolated from each other nowadays and this divergence perplexes him: “. . . his tired mind / Biased towards bigness since his body must / Exaggerate to exist” (CP 463). The mind produces an illusion that the physical body is distorted so that it is hard to believe. The issue of mind will be discussed at greater length in the next

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