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Compare the ways in which Larkin and Abse create a sense of place in their poems.

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Introduction

´╗┐Compare the ways in which Larkin and Abse create a sense of place in their poems. In your response you must include detailed critical discussion of at least two of Larkin?s poems. Throughout the anthology ?The Whitsun Weddings?, Larkin?s presents both himself and the narrators he uses as generally detached from places and shows he doesn?t feel emotionally attached to places traditionally considered sentimental, such as his parents? house, as shown in ?Home is So Sad?. Larkin also presents a dislike for urbanisation and industrialism, and finds comfort in unfamiliar places, ?strangeness made sense?. In direct contrast, in ?Last Visit to 198 Cathedral Road?, Abse is shown to be emotionally overcome by his attachment to his parent?s house, and this sense of attachment can be shown throughout his poems, as he constantly shows his sentiment towards Wales and his hometown of Ogmore in particular. A sense of place is perhaps best shown by Larkin in his poem ?Here?. In this poem, he creates a juxtaposition of country and cities, and through his language suggests that country is preferable. He uses words such as ?cheap?, ?grim? and ?raw? to suggest he finds industrialism undesirable, and also suggests that the people are of a lower class and to be looked down on; ?a cut-price crowd, urban yet simple?. ...read more.

Middle

However, it could also be argued this demonstrates his attachment, as for Larkin the place is unimportant but it?s crucial for Abse. Abse?s language in ?Leaving Cradiff? creates a semantic field of lowness through images such as ?slack hammocks? and ?sea-birds drop?, which reflects his sadness at leaving home. Whilst Larkin shows no sentimentality towards home, Abse?s ?eyes, like spaces, fill?, showing the extent of his attachment. The low mood of the poem is furthered by words such as ?derelictions? and ?the furthest star?. Interestingly, whilst Larkin amidst his isolation from place never suggests that place can affect people, Abse alludes to the opposite by saying ?not for one second?can I be the same man?, which suggests some of who he is comes from his hometown. Through images such as these, Abse creates a sense of place in a different way to Larkin, as he uses little description but suggests the idea of belonging to a place, which the reader can see throughout the poem. Both poets write about returning to their parent?s homes after their deaths, allowing for a direct comparison between their descriptions and sense of attachment shown. In his poem ?Home is so Sad?, there is a sense of discomfort, which suggests Larkin is never at ease even in his ?home?. ...read more.

Conclusion

Interestingly, Larkin successfully creates a sense of place in ?the importance of elsewhere? which is about Ireland and therefore not his home, which reinforces his lack of attachment and his uneasiness at home. After stating ?Lonely in Ireland, since it was not home? Larkin continues to suggest he feels ?welcome? whilst away as he and the country ?were in touch?. He uses similar descriptions to in ?Here?, still describing the countryside as preferable to cities, but the clear use of the pronoun ?their? still suggests a detachment, as it becomes ?him and them?. In the last stanza, Larkin alludes to understanding the effect of place on people, as says ?here no elsewhere underwrites my existence?, which suggests that people can be heavily influenced by place. Through this, he creates a sense of place by allowing the reader to understand the place which ?underwrites their existence?, which reinforces the idea that poetry is about reader-response, as I.A. Richards once said. In conclusion, the stark difference between the sense of place created in Larkin and Abse?s poetry is the sense of attachment. Whilst Larkin is detached, Abse feels sentimentally specifically towards his hometown and country. However, it could be argued that sense of sadness created by each poet stems from different reasoning, as Abse is sad due to his attachment to a place, whilst Larkin is generally detached from both place and people. ...read more.

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