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Compare the ways in which Larkin and Abse talk about families

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Introduction

´╗┐Larkin and families Larkin?s presentation of families in the anthology The Whitsun Weddings is largely negative, as he presents children as a ?dilution? of oneself, and shows marriage to be stagnation between two people. The unhappy marriage between Larkin?s parents deeply affected him, and this could arguably explain his negative attitudes towards families in general. In contrast, Abse presents family as central to his life, and presents his son as an extension of himself, which directly contrasts with Larkin's view that children lessen oneself. Abse also presents marriage with "passion" rather than "isolation". Whereas Larkin seems to question the value of family life, Abse presents the view of many that families are a counterbalance for death rather than a deprivation. In his poem Dockery and Sons, Larkin's persona, which is similar to Larkin himself, describes Dockery's son as a "dilution", suggesting that Larkin believes children lesser your quality of life or value through diluting it. He furthers this to suggest that Dockery was arrogant to assume "he should be added to", which alludes to Larkin suggests perhaps not everyone in worthy of reproducing. From a Marxist perspective, here Larkin separates people based on his own class system, as he deems those "junior to him" as unworthy of children, even those he dislikes the idea. ...read more.

Middle

Larkin also presents marriage negatively through Talking in bed, as he suggests marriage is stagnation between two people. Whilst conventionally, and within Abse's poetry, marriage is seen as a solution to loneliness, Larkin suggests the opposite, "unique distance from isolation", which suggests marriage still allows loneliness to creep in. By uses the repetition of "more and more" he creates a monotonous tone which reflects the monotony of marriage from Larkin's point of view. However, Larkin does allude to an understanding of the conventional and purpose of marriage through "ought to be easiest", suggest he sees the desired effect but sees in to deceiving of real marriages. The use of nature as a reflection of marriage continues the negative mood, as the oxymoron "incomplete unrest" suggests a purgatorial state, which is worse than either extreme, which is later shown in "not unkind", suggesting they are stuck between two ends of happiness and misery. He also uses the "dark town" as a reflection of their feelings towards one another, as he states "none of this cares for us", just as they seemingly don't care for each other. However, he uses the image of the clouds, "build and disperse" to suggest that the failure of marriage is inevitable, just like dispersal of the clouds, and by using the image of nature he suggests this is beyond the couple's control, like the weather. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, this is shown to be a brief connection, as the repetition of ?unsatisfactory? suggests that this is not enough to create a connection between the two people. Again, the repetition can also suggest that Larkin sees ?time at home? as monotonous; hence he ?wastes it?. Contrastingly, Abse never suggests the need for an intermediary between him and is mother, as shown in A winter visit?, as he makes ?speaks of small approximate things?, suggesting a level of comfort between the two people. The mood of this poem is hugely affectionate, which is obviously shown through ?this winter I?m half dead/ And because it?s true I want to cry?, which clearly indicates a connection between Abse and his mother. Overall, Larkin sees family as a burden and a ?dilution? of himself. As he once said, ?it is not people but children I dislike?, which is clearly reflected in Dockery and Son, Larkin finds the idea of children to ?close doors? in your life, indicating they somehow lessen you. He is also disparaging towards marriage, implying it is a kind of stagnant purgatory, whereas Abse speaks lovingly about both his son and his wife. Larkin does once indicate a connection between him and his mother but it requires music in order to take off, suggesting that Larkin never sees families as the counterbalance from death that Abse does. ...read more.

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