• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the ways in which Larkin and Duffy present the reality of love.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare the ways in which Larkin and Duffy present the reality of love. Both Larkin and Duffy explore the reality of love in their poetry, examining in detail the unrealistic expectations of romance (such as the oft-held belief that love endures through time and hardship) present in a relationship in ‘Love Songs in Age’ and ‘Valentine’. This eventually leads to the realisation that love does not match such idealistic expectations, as seen in ‘Love Songs in Age’ and ‘Disgrace’. However, while Larkin attributes the loss of love to the erosive nature of time in ‘Talking in Bed’, Duffy highlights the complicity of the couple in the breakdown of their relationship in ‘Disgrace’. Nonetheless, both poets ultimately reach the same conclusion- that of the realisation that love is transient. Larkin presents ‘Love Songs in Age’ in a mixed manner, as seen in the low frequency lexis (‘incipience’, ‘submissive’, ‘unchangeably’) to reflect the idealised, abstract nature of what love represents, as opposed to the bitter reality of love, as shown in the high frequency lexis(‘case’, ‘cry’, ‘love’). The juxtaposition of the progression from high frequency lexis to low frequency lexis and back again (‘She kept her songs, they kept so little space…Its bright incipience sailing above…To pile them back to cry…’) follows the changing perception the widow has for love, as she rediscovers the love songs of her youth and her once-naïve expectations for love, which eventually fade into a more realistic, jaded view of romance. The poem itself is presented in a melancholic tone, and the theme of memories and the passing of time, with emphasis on the widow’s gradual realisation of the true nature of love, establishes an atmosphere of nostalgia. This is seen through the use of the semantic field of memory to depict the widow’s past, as seen in the lexis ‘relearning’, ‘time’ and ‘young’. Likewise, ‘Talking in Bed’ is written in a mixed manner, with the use of high frequency lexis (‘kind’, ‘bed’, true’) ...read more.

Middle

The extended metaphor of the couple?s house as a representation of their relationship is further shown in ?To a bowl of apples rotten to the core. Lame shoes empty in the hall??. Here, the symbolism of ?a bowl of apples rotten to the core? reflects the love between the couple as being completely and thoroughly ruined, with the adjective ?rotten? carrying negative connotations of the festering trouble between the two. The ?Lame shoes empty in the hall? are also used as a representation of the couple?s destructive romance, with the pair of ?lame shoes? echoing the couple and their inability to improve their now-meaningless relationship. Eventually, the persona in ?Disgrace? comes to the revelation of the inescapable destruction of love, as can be seen in ?But one day we woke to our disgrace?. Here, the use of the coordinating conjunction ?But? implies a sudden realisation of the destruction of their relationship, with the verb ?woke? carrying the double meaning of a physical waking as well as the acknowledgement of ?disgrace?, as love ceases to exist. This is further shown in ?And how our words changed. Dead flies in a web. How they stiffened and blackened?. It is interesting to note the comparison of ?Dead flies? to ?our words? by the persona, as the ?dead flies? are symbolic of death and a loss of vitality, echoing the persona?s comprehension of the loss of proper communication in her dilapidated relationship. The use of the ?web? as a metaphor for the couple?s relationship is especially significant as well, as it illustrates the sense of entrapment felt by the couple, much like the ?dead flies? caught ?in a web?. Such recognition of the state of the couple?s relationship is further seen in the last stanza; ?Woke to the meaningless stars?lost?. With the ?meaningless stars? as a symbol of lost hope, the dynamic verb ?woke? shows the couple?s growing realisation of the reality of the transient nature of love, with the adjective ?lost? depicting a sense of helplessness for ...read more.

Conclusion

of the verb ?spraying? mimicking a spray can as language becomes a violent act of vandalism when the couple loses control of their emotions, as they become relentless in their exchange of verbal abuse. A similar scene depicting the couple?s fight is seen as well as Duffy refers to ?Into the night with the wrong language, waving and pointing, the shadows of hands huge??. In particular, the dynamic verbs ?waving? and ?pointing? are an indication of the mutual blame present between the couple, with the noun phrase ?wrong language? highlighting the lack of understanding between the two whilst emphasising the loss of physical and emotional intimacy between them. The complicity of the couple is also shown in the last stanza; ??faithless, unpenitent, you and me both, lost?, with the pronouns of ?you? and ?me?, complemented by the adverb ?both?, showing the couple?s participation in the ruination of their relationship. The adjectives ?faithless? and ?unpenitent?, often seen in the semantic field of religion also shows a lack of trust, or faith present in the couple, that they have become wary and sceptical of each other. More significant, however is the use of enjambment in ?you/ and me?, which Duffy uses to illustrate the emotional and physical distance between the two. In the end, the couple is ?lost?, both having to face the reality that their own actions caused the destruction of their relationship. Ultimately, both Larkin and Duffy share the same purpose of presenting the reality of love by destroying the common belief of its supreme powers through the portrayal of the unmet expectations of romance. However, this is presented in a different manner: in Larkin?s poetry, he points to the erosive nature of time that leads to the loss of love, implying that its pursuit is hopeless, whereas Duffy?s poetry shows that the couple?s own actions are to blame, and carries the more optimistic message that love, although a worthy quality, should be handled carefully. Word Count w/quotes: 3307 Word Count w/o quotes: 2696 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    Dying in a Holy Place The characters in the novel frequently mention the idea of "dying in a holy place." Katharine dies in a cave, a holy place to ancient people. Patrick, Hana's father, also dies in a holy place, a dove-cot, a ledge above a building where doves can be safe from predatory rats.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Within the three texts, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Look back in Anger by ...

    4 star(s)

    At the end of the play, Osborne chooses for Jimmy and Alison to revert to a childlike fantasy of ?bears and squirrels?. They are seemingly able to make peace through this method of communication, representing to the audience how society and real-life, and Jimmy?s anger at it, have made their relationship unbearable.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    In what Sense can we connect the Ideas of the Idealised Self and the ...

    3 star(s)

    This gives an overriding sense through the novel of the gap between the signifier and the signified. Gatsby's failed attempts to signify his love for Daisy show the apparent gap between them, that later becomes evident through the story. He attempts to get on her level through the way he dresses, acts and speaks to Daisy.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Exploration of the ways that Shakespeare and Austen present us with different aspects ...

    3 star(s)

    They discussed and shared that their understanding of each other will head them to a tranquil and enduring marriage. This connection between Elizabeth and Darcy uncovers the significance of getting to know the person before marrying. Both Elizabeth and Darcy are pressured to understand their beginning misunderstandings.

  1. Lord of the flies comparison

    as it is in Lord of the Flies which draws parallels between the boys governing methods and that of the adult government of the time. The upper class adults in Oliver such as Mr. Brownlow are represented in a positive light as he, unlike Fagin and Mr.

  2. Compare and contrast how the destructive nature of love is presented in Shakespeares Othello, ...

    McEwan builds a climax by making Jed seem 'harmless' in the early stages of the play but eventually makes comments that could be interpreted as threatening such as "you started this and you can't run from it. I can get people to do things for me- you already know that"

  1. A Comparison of the imagery and symbolism in Birdsong and Fair Stood the Wind ...

    This passage sounds as though it could have been written by either Bates or Faulks; its underlying message preaching of the sheer uselessness of something physical on the wider, wiser, more powerful spectrum of the natural world is something that Bates' symbolisation of the revolver beholds.

  2. Compare and contrast the ways Margret Atwood and William Blake present the power of ...

    of the authority of men; Aunt Lydia said to the Handmaids: ?Try to think of it from their point of view she said?It isn?t easy for them?. The aunts may feel like they have a form of authority but they are still controlled by the men: the Handmaids? jealousy toward

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work