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Discuss the distinctive qualities and effects of the poem Mr Bleaney.

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Discuss the distinctive qualities and effects of the poem 'Mr Bleaney'. The poem appears to express the thoughts of Larkin as he views the rented room of 'Mr Bleaney'. In exposing the lonely, monotonous life of this figure, Larkin is unable to criticise as he sees a reflection of his own life. The poem addresses the key themes of loneliness and the shallowness of human life from the outset. The name 'Mr Bleaney as the title evokes the emotion of insipidness as the word conjugation is very monotonous with no strong syllables. Similar to the nature of the room Larkin describes, the name has little stimulation. This monotony is reinforced in the concept of him renting a 'room' as this has little status in comparison of being an 'owner'. The theme of the shallowness of existence is present from the clinical nature in which the landlord refers to his death as 'they moved him'. The use of indifferent language to refer to his death shows the little care for the ending of his life. ...read more.


This is particularly noticeable in the use of derogatory language; 'tussocky, 'littered' and 'upright'. However, from the mid point of the third stanza this gives way to one of melancholy. In studying the life of Mr Bleaney he has found a resemblance to his own life. The reference to 'so it happens that I lie where Mr Bleaney lay' shows he understands his own place in life is not superior to that of Mr Bleaney as he too does not own his own property or has made a lasting feature on the room. The lack of self confidence is 'stuffing my ears with cotton-wool' shows Larkin's inability to confront situations in favour of inversion. This parallels the life of Mr Bleaney in his repetition of each year following the same pathway 'Christmas at his sister's in stoke' and 'the Frinton folk who put him up for summer holidays'. In the closing stanza of the poem, Larkin refers to how one measures the success of life on how we live. ...read more.


The use of the enjambment overriding stanza division shows the pointlessness and tedious nature of Mr Bleaney's life whilst providing momentum for the poem. By having the fifth stanza end-stopped there is a double pause when reading allowing Larkin to change the tone of the poem. By having the first line of the new stanza ending in 'frigid wind' Larkin sets the tone as being pessimistic because both words have negative connotations. The lack of metaphors and similes ensures the poem closely parallels reality. Whilst being based in reality, the lack of creative inspiration in evocative descriptions reinforces the pointlessness of both Bleaney and Larkin's life. Larkin has used the landlady and Mr Bleaney, as the focus for the humour in the poem but it is the landlady who comes across as the comic if somewhat pitiful character. The ironic humour is used as the lighter side of the poem to contrast its dark overtones and highlights the contrasting duality that is inherent throughout. The poem of 'Mr Bleaney' was written in the 1950s reflecting the angst of the period after World War 2. The depressive nature of the poem reveals a phase of change and uncertainty. ...read more.

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