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Comparing Larkin and Abse

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Introduction

Larkin essay In this essay I will compare and contrast three poems by Philip Arthur Larkin, the three poems are: 'Dockery and Son', 'Mr Bleaney', and 'Self's the Man', all poems from Larkin's The Whitsun Weddings. 'Self's the Man' deals with Larkin's preoccupation with self by taking on the persona of the poem. However the persona does not interact with the character of Arnold but wonders whether he has a better life, by not being married. Whereas 'Mr. Bleaney' is about a man who carries out a very monotonous life all alone without being married like Arnold. 'Dockery and Son' describes the different paths that people take in life or the choices they make. "He married a woman to stop her getting away Now she's there all day," This is from 'Self's the Man' and displays Larkin's feelings towards marriage, he is cynical about marriage. The simple and predictable rhyming scheme displays Arnold's predictable life now that he is married. Irony is also an almost constant presence in Larkin's poetry and this is no exception as Arnold's hopes for a happy life are disappointed. All three poems suggest loneliness in our existence and treats it in a meditative way. ...read more.

Middle

'So he and I are the same,' Larkin's views of life are very bleak as we can see he does not believe in marriage or happy couples, he is miserable so he thinks everyone else must be as well. At the end of the poem Larkin still tries to tell us that he prefers his life to Arnold's married life. 'Only I'm a better hand At knowing what I can stand Without them sending a van- Or I suppose I can.' However the ending is ambiguous and it is not made clear who's life is superior, Larkin's or Arnold's. Larkin also identifies himself with Mr. Bleaney even though he doesn't want to. The tone of the poem changes with the word 'But,' preceded by a full stop which emphasises the change in atmosphere. The shift is further emphasised as the language before the turning point is very colloquial and easily accessible however it then turns into language which is typical of Larkin, full of pessimism pointlessness. 'And at his age no more to show Than one hired box,' Larkin may have chosen the words "One hired box" to represent a coffin, Mr. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Dockery and Son' also comments on how time equals loss and how time changes people and things, this is a strong theme in a lot of Larkin's poems. 'I try the door of where I used to live: Locked.' Larkin comments on how you cannot go back in time and how he is isolated from his past. The language is colloquial and there is a casual mood as the persona drifts through the poem as time goes on with use of enjambment. 'Yawning...I fell asleep.' The ending is pessimistic and is again typical of a Larkin poem. 'And age, and then the only end of age.' Larkin wants us to see that fatherhood and bachelorhood are only superficial differences over essential sameness. All three poems cover themes of choice and chance, the past and nostalgia, and life and death. They all seem to have bleak and miserable moods. Larkin seems to identify a small part of himself within every character he criticises and makes himself, but also the reader, think about how he lives his own life and how different it actually is from those people's lives. ?? ?? ?? ?? Tim Berendse ...read more.

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