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From your study of Larkin to date, choose and comment on up to 4 poems where you have found this distinctive style at work.

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Introduction

"Larkin's style is distinctive: ironic, detached and observant, with a characteristic eye for the telling social detail and turn-of-phrase. It is a style- understated and hesitant- which many have seen as perfectly suited to the world of post-War Britain." From your study of Larkin to date, choose and comment on up to 4 poems where you have found this distinctive style at work. Larkin's style of writing, like most poets, was heavily influenced by the environment and society that surrounded him. It has been suggested by many that Larkin is a bleak, though suitable, social commentator for this era, as Eric Homberger suggests, he is "the saddest heart in the post-war supermarket." This role owes a large amount to his technique and approach to poetry. His sceptical, perceptive and removed outlook is reflected into poems such as 'Mr. Bleaney', 'MCMXIV' and 'Essential Beauty', brilliantly capturing the ironically familiar scenes of post-War Britain. 'Days', however, perhaps provides an exception to Larkin's unique observational style, revealing a more personal, philosophical approach. ...read more.

Middle

This illustrates how Larkin's distinctive style is highly perceptive, though it also quite objective and detached. In 'MCMXIV' there is no evidence of strong feeling, of love or hate, throughout the poem, even though it often remarks upon quite emotional-filled subjects in relation to WW1. This emotional detachment can also be seen in 'Mr. Bleaney' and 'Essential Beauty'. It can be suggested that Larkin's indifference adds more atmosphere to the poem, the distantness creating a quite disturbing, tense feeling. Highlighted by rhythm and structure, this aloofness shows a quite negative, cynical yet uninvolved style, which is almost completely unique to Larkin. In 'MCMXIV' it is not until the end of the poem that there is slight evidence of Larkin's opinion, when he states 'Never such innocence, Never before or since.' Even when stating his feelings though, Larkin still remains detached. This is perhaps reflecting his view of post-war Britain into his style; revealing a quite blank and impassive era, compared to what Larkin believes of the past. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although he has forgotten his typical observations, and therefore making the poem considerably shorter, Larkin's ironic detachment occurs in the second stanza with the witty image of 'the priest and the doctor, In their long coats, Running over the fields.' and his characteristic tone sets in. Although, making a valid, serious argument by suggesting that neither Christianity nor science can supply the answer, by adding 'Ah', Larkin becomes quite impassive and returns to his distinctive style. Although 'Days' is a slightly altered style from 'Mr. Bleaney', 'MCMXIV', and 'Essential Beauty', Larkin's style remains distinctive throughout all his poems. It can be suggested, as by Ian Hamilton, that Larkin's writing style is a "rather narrow range of negative attitudes", though it can also be forcefully argued that as Larkin's poetry is so full of uncertainty, indifference, and ironic observational details it does represent the realities of post-war Britain for a lot of people, and many of these attitudes can still be applied today. In conclusion, Larkin's writing style highlights why Larkin has such a powerful reaction in people, and such a strong following, and why every poem. although similar, remains unique. ...read more.

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