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A Practical Criticism on 'Here by Phillip Larkin 'Here' was published in 1964 as part of a collection of poems collectively titled 'The Whitsun Weddings'

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Introduction

A Practical Criticism on 'Here by Phillip Larkin 'Here' was published in 1964 as part of a collection of poems collectively titled 'The Whitsun Weddings'. It explores the feelings and judgements towards a location and the falsity of the modern industrial culture as it consumes traditional life. The poem describes the mixed judgements of the narrator as he passes through the town on a train journey, as well as concomitantly examining the features of a emblematic reversed journey from 'industrial' restraints to 'unfenced existence' The first stanza opens with the word 'swerving' which is repeated twice more in the same verse, suggesting that the train is trying to avoid something, such as the irrevocable destruction of the surrounding nature. This theory is supported by the description of the 'thin and thistled' fields; they are no longer flourishing as their well-being is not the priority. This reflects the condition of society as elderly people are often neglected due to the increasing concentration on modernism. The first line describes the effect that the industrial revolution has had on society with its 'rich industrial shadows'. ...read more.

Middle

The transition from the unshackled nature to the strict urban area is a shock, and there are many interesting and new experiences to be seen in the town. The narrator describes the striking features of the town 'domes and statues, spires and cranes'. Domes and spires relate to religion which has a varying influence on life and has extensive traditional connotations. Statues display the history of the town and are show appreciation of past events. These 3 features show the towns' culture and give it identity. However they are devalued by the fact that they are listed; this distracts from their individual significance. Also the features 'cluster' together reducing the impression they have on the public. They are further diminished by the association with the 'crane' which, although representing advancement and improvement, is temporary and not important in the long run. The structures 'cluster' together mirroring the reaction of animals when they feel threatened. This suggests a feeling of protection as the domes, spires, statues and crane are a reassuring influence on life and they show appreciation of the past concurrently with development of the future. ...read more.

Conclusion

The inhabitants of the town are described in a harsh, negative way. Larkin is extremely insulting of their lifestyle, commenting stereotypically on their activities 'stealing flat faced trolleys'. He assumes that because they live on the estates they are criminals. This unfair judgement is furthered with the derogatory description of their appearance 'Cheap suits...sharp shoes'. The mention of 'red kitchen-ware' shows the cultural context of the poem as plastic brightly coloured equipment was popular at the time the poem was published. However he seems to understand that the people are merely a by-product of their surroundings. He understands that the people come from 'raw estates'; this suggests that they have the potential for success but lack the means. In conclusion the poem 'Here' is about the initial judgements which are immediately made when the narrator views the town, and the gradual acknowledgement of the possibilities which lie underneath the overriding hardship. Furthermore there is also a message of the development of the world from the traditional ways to new modern concepts. Hayley Goodwin 27/10/2005 Miss King - 1 - ...read more.

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