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Discuss the effectiveness and significance of Larkin's evocation of place in his poetry with reference to three poems.

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Introduction

Discuss the effectiveness and significance of Larkin's evocation of place in his poetry with reference to three poems. Lucy Atwell Larkin is renowned for taking familiar landmarks and transferring them by his ludicrous outlook, which in turn engages the reader. It can be challenged that a place used in Larkin's poetry does not evoke feeling, but it's the familiar aspect that Larkin presents. Larkin evocates significance of place in his poetry by means of style, structure and language. This can be seen in 'Importance of Elsewhere', 'Home is so sad' and 'Here', were Larkin uses objects, which establish settings to create feeling. 'Here' was written in 1961 and was originally entitled the 'The Withdrawing Room'; both 'Here' and the old title indicate the importance of place to Larkin, in terms of belonging. The title of 'Home is so sad' also indicates the importance of place in a more negative tone, and indicates the importance of identity through place. The title also indicates Larkin's use of urban cities negatively. 'The importance of elsewhere', also evocates 'place' and challenges conventional living. 'Home is so sad' begins with a negative simple sentence, "Home is so sad". This instantly indicates the negative tone of the poem and points out Larkin's lack of belonging. ...read more.

Middle

'Importance of elsewhere' employs imagery on the basis of senses such as hearing, "The salt rebuff of speech", sight "Their draughty streets...", smell "The faint archaic smell" and touch "...We were in touch". This allows for realism within the poem thus making the imagery more effective. It can also be interpreted that when describing a place Larkin uses the reader's senses to create imagery to input an emotive response within the reader by familiarity. 'Here' also includes a contrast between the urban city and pastoral. In stanza two Larkin vividly creates a sense of place by packed observation and detail. Larkin describes the city as, "Raw", "Cheap" and "Sharp". These enforce Larkin's negative view of the city as a place. Structurally 'Here' is significant as Larkin describes the pastoral places as beautiful, "Hidden weeds flower", this structurally is used to contrast to the urban city which Larkin describes more in detailed and explicitly later on in the book. The first line of the 'Here', "Swerving east, from rich industrial shadows" indicates Larkin's agenda for the poem instantly. "Swerving east" could be to represent Larkin as travelling on a train. Travelling could be an interpretation for place as he demonstrates travelling through isolation to a town, back to isolation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Larkin conventionally generalises people and places that he sees to present the idea that modernisation has corrupted their individuality. Conventional living is also resented in 'Here'. In this poem Larkin signifies that urban cities conventionally contain high street stores, working and therefore is routine of everyday life. "Urban yet simple, dwelling where only salesmen and relations come". In this quote Larkin also suggests cities are "simple", yet again relating to cities losing their mystery. These conventionalities are presented critically by Larkin, but also could be so the reader recognise this and can associate with it. Larkin's evocation of place is present within all the themes throughout the collection of poetry but most explicitly in 'Here', 'Importance of elsewhere' and 'Home is so sad'. Larkin applies familiarity for the reader within these poems to engage the reader and evoke an emotional response consequently increasing interest. He utilizes 'place' to represent ideas of belonging, identity and conventional living, which therefore could be interpreted in two different ways. Larkin could be mocking the reader through the way he emphasises something as simple as place can effect someone's life so immensely, or Larkin could simple be interpreted as being satirical. By using 'place' within these poems Larkin could also be questioned whether he is being detached or distant, which additionally indicates if he is emotional involved in the poems. ...read more.

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