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

Wild Oats & Afternoons: A Comparitive Essay

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"My parent's marriage left me with two convictions: that human beings should not live together and that children should be taken away from their parents at an early age" One of Larkin's most famous quotes is "My parent's marriage left me with two convictions: that human beings should not live together and that children should be taken away from their parents at an early age". This quote begins to reveal Larkin's attitudes and opinions which are portrayed throughout his works. Further exploration of Larkin's use of language, structure and form leads to an interesting insight into his personal beliefs and the beliefs of influential others around him. Wild Oats is a short poem by Philip Larkin which is principally about failed love. There are actually two loves, one unspoken, and one unsuccessful, also there is a period of 20 years, humour, pathos, and irony. The poem takes the form of a short story in which the persona recalls the meeting of two girls, one of whom is strikingly beautiful, one of whom is less so. He manages to have a long term relationship with the less desirable one which ultimately fails, probably because he always longed for the exterior delights of the prettier one, and still does. This follows Larkin's ideas of women, and how they are only good for one thing. ...read more.

Middle

This has the appearance of a serious relationship, but there is no marriage, their meetings are "unknown to the clergy" and his ring is returned. Larkin does not like the idea of marriage, and once said "...marriage seems a revolting institution, unless the parties have enough money to keep reasonably distant from each other - imagine sharing a bedroom with a withered old woman!" This quote is typical of Larkin, and clearly displays his views on marriage and how pointless he thinks it is. During the time that the persona is with the "girl in specs", he "meets beautiful twice" and feels that she finds him ridiculous. Again the use of enjambment at lines fifteen to sixteen emphasise the hurt caused by "Bosomy Rose." The final stanza deals firstly with the bitter break up with the second choice. "Five rehearsals" is a concise but telling way of describing the untidy end to this doomed relationship, a turn of phrase which leaves much to the imagination but isn't hard to picture. He admits his failings and sweeps what must have been a major portion of his life's experience to one side with the poignant line, "Well, useful to get that learnt." The irony emphasises his bitterness at the whole, useless episode, which is also reflective of Larkin's ideas on how women are merely sex objects and how their opinions do not matter. ...read more.

Conclusion

The title 'Afternoons' symbolises the point in their lives that these women have reached: not yet the evening of old age, but no longer the morning of childhood, either. Their 'summer is fading', as Larkin puts it, a second symbolic use of time in the poem. Larkin uses a number of images of fading or ending: the end of the day, the end of summer, the falling leaves, the memories of their wedding, the fading of their courting-places, their beauty, control over their own lives. But Larkin contrasts this with images of the new: the newness of the recreation ground (and, by implication, the new estate), the newness of the women as mothers, the newness of the lovers taking over the old courting-places, the unripeness of the acorns. Newness is an unattractive idea in the poem, a poignant contrast with the lives the women find slipping from them. The afternoons for them are 'hollows' - an ambiguous word suggesting both welcome shelter (from either the domestic chores behind them or the approaching evening ahead) and hollowness, emptiness. The poem is full of verbs ending in '-ing', suggesting the gradualness with which this change is creeping over them; for instance, in the final two lines of the poem Larkin is no more specific than to write 'something' is pushing them. For them, as for all of us, it is happening without anyone really noticing. ...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 Philip Larkin 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 Philip Larkin essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast 'MCMXIV' by Philip Larkin and 'Six Young Men' by Ted Hughes.

    3 star(s)

    First he tells of men waiting patiently ("standing as patiently"), and then he describes a holiday atmosphere with young men enjoying themselves with no idea of the horror that awaits them, as they think it will be an adventure ("grinning as if it were all/An August Bank Holiday lark").

  2. Poetry and Melancholy in Sheers Examination of Welsh Identity

    Since he is primarily a poet, Sheers uses metaphor and similar linguistic devices to devastating effect in both Resistance and Skirrid Hill. He presents the melancholy through using the landscape as a transferred epithet for the grief of the individual, '(Sarah's dreams)

  1. Compare the way Larkin and Plath present human relationships in their poems.

    Therefore, from a feminist poet, this is ironic. This is intensified by the woman being called a 'living doll' meaning that she is for a man to play with as 'Living doll' also has sexual connotations. The poem does not discuss marriage being based on love, and sexual connotations are

  2. Compare the ways in which Duffy and Larkin write about the theme of Nostalgia ...

    life, however the end result of a pain through nostalgia is still present, in this case being death. Returning to Captain of the 1964 Team, we see somewhat sexual tones underlay the poem - "convent girls" and "lips as sore as a two-hour snog" are the primary example of this.

  1. Larkin and Abse on relationships. The essay will discuss this contrast by examing Larkins ...

    As the train pulls away from the platform he is able to see that the platform is filled with laughing young women. Larkin lets cynicism creep into play and he sees fit to describe the young females in an almost unkind way.

  2. The Early Purges Vs Daffodils

    the dancing of daffodils in the "breeze" as he says "a host of golden daffodils, beside the lake beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze". Using personification he has described the flowers moves in breezes to dancing to make them alive and happy.

  1. Compare and contrast the ways in which Philip Larkin and Penelope Lively present ...

    The dust behind limousines referring to the fact that the people that were at war either left to the front lines or fled to survive so left everything behind. In the same poem Philip Larkin writes; "Never such innocence."3 In the First World War boys were encouraged to go to

  2. Women are dismissed as insignificant in both the poetry of Larkin and Eliot. How ...

    is suggested in Faith Healing with the sudden volta in the last stanza. The tone of the poem switches from a mocking observation to a more general, emotional view which Larkin also feels; ?In everyone...? He realises that wanting comfort and love to transform lives is part of the human

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