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

How typical in terms of subject, theme, structure and versification is 'Faith Healing' by Larkin?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How typical in terms of subject, theme, structure and versification is 'Faith Healing' by Larkin? In 1964, Philip Larkin published his third book of poetry, entitled 'The Whitsun Weddings'. One of the many critically acclaimed poems was 'Faith Healing'. In this essay, I intend to explore how typical this poem is in terms of subject, theme, structure and versification. In Faith Healing, women flock to an American Faith Healer for a blessing. The persona of the poem is written from an outsider's point of view, looking in at this sight. Faith Healing is divided into three stanzas, each of ten lines. Iambic pentameter is used to give 5 major stresses to each of the 10 lines. The three stanzas actually contribute to the action of the poem. In the first stanza, the women go forward to the Faith Healer; in the second, they leave and 'Sheepishly stray'. Finally, the poem concludes with the third stanza where Larkin analyses the situation. This versification is indeed quite typical throughout The Whitsun Weddings. 'Here' is another poem from this collection, and Larkin again writes in iambic pentameter. He uses the traditional versification to describe a journey from an industrial city to a place where much more satisfaction can be gained. This journey was also mapped by the structure of the poem. Larkin wrote 4 stanzas and each one marked a progression in the journey. This is similar to Faith Healing where each stanza moves the story onto the next event or occurrence. ...read more.

Middle

There must be some satisfaction in this ladies life, flowers symbolize love and passion. Maybe this suggests that although the 'commercial love' mentioned in songs is unobtainable, there has actually been an element of love in this ladies life. In Here, Larkin describes the urban lifestyle of a 'cut-price crowd'. He tells how they have no real ambition in life and live very simply, from day to day. The people lack desire and are satisfied with their lives. They are shallow and their ideals are to keep living their basic lives with 'cheap suits' and 'red kitchen ware'. This strikes a similarity with Faith Healing. The women who visit the Faith Healer are originally content with their simple life and are just looking for something a little more. They have no real ambition and no major desires. Ironically, by the end of the poem, their emotions are truly evoked and they desire everything that they have missed out on in life, like compassion and love. Another prominent theme that is carried through most of these poems is that of time. In Here, Larkin describes how time fences us in. He is no longer working at our world of growth and decay, but is now looking at something beyond time. In a similar way, time fenced Mr Bleaney in and the 'one hired box should make him pretty sure He warranted no better'. Love Songs In Age also displays the passing of time. 'One bleached from lying in a sunny place'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is interesting and explains why the majority of Larkin's poems are indeed extremely descriptive and omniscient. Another difference can be found in the concluding stanzas of Faith Healing and Mr Bleaney. Faith Healing concludes with Larkin's definite viewpoint that these women are now suffering. In Mr Bleaney, however, the ending of the poem is ominous. We are left wondering if Bleaney was preoccupied with limitations of human life or if he was living for the day? The poem ends, 'I don't know'. This indecisive ending, gives us the final verdict and we are left to answer the question ourselves. This is dissimilar to Faith Healing, where Larkin adopts a very sad, yet decisive conclusion. A final difference that I noted was that of a melancholic attitude. Love Songs In Age seems to suggest that we are never able to find the kind of love that we really desire whereas Faith Healing suggests that if these women had realised their loneliness earlier in life, they could have loved and been loved in return. This is only a slight difference; but is worth considering when asking the question of the typicality of Faith Healing. Overall, I feel that the similarities outweigh the differences and it can be concluded that Faith Healing is infact quite similar to a selection of the other poems in Whitsun Weddings. There are some differences and Faith Healing is unique in some respects, such as Larkin not experiencing this event personally. However, overall Faith Healing is a typical Larkin poem, with deprivation and loneliness as themes, iambic pentameter and enjambment as language features and with initially descriptive stanza's before moving on to conclude with a reflective and thoughtful panorama. ...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

    An 'A' Level candidate described Larkin as a "grumpy, old, git". Based on High ...

    3 star(s)

    Through this the reader is transported to a place where there confinement and restrictions cease to exist, instead freedom is present. It portrays Larkin as optimistic and liberated form the constraints of religion "no god any more ,or sweating in the dark" and thus a happy mood is created, a stark contrast to someone grumpy.

  2. "The Past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." Referring to L. ...

    Therefore what we perceive to be pessimism in Larkin is, in this instance, simply realism, an understanding of the illusions contained in the world, making him "less deceived" as a result. He once remarked, "Poetry is an affair of sanity, of seeing things as they really are" it was for

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

    From the outset of the poem, Larkin provides a description of the life of Mr Bleaney as one of worthlessness and criticises his lack of statements in the room.

  2. To what extent, in terms of subject matter and style, do you consider 'High ...

    High Windows can thus be clearly compared to other poems that use this technique. By the end of the collection, the use of italics is recognisable. Larkin also often makes use of a 'final image' at the end of his poems, something that is meant to sum up the content of the poem.

  1. Explore the themes and attitudes of Phillip Larkin's

    The white steamer has gone." Again the poet contrasts to the first verse by describing the steamer. This shows that time has passed. The short sentence about the steamer gives a feeling of disappointment and that happy memory has been lost. I reckon the poet has realised that their memory is in the past and cannot be kept alive no matter how hard they try.

  2. A Practical Criticism on 'Here by Phillip Larkin 'Here' was published in 1964 as ...

    I feel this is a positive reference to development as the features cluster together to maintain mutual support. This shows that knowledge from the past can aid development. However the clustering of the objects could be perceived as negative as this could relate to claustrophobia within the town as the buildings compete for the limited space.

  1. Larkin has been accused of a lack of sympathy in his poetry, based on ...

    this subject could be used to engage the reader if they are living in similar circumstances, therefore evoking empathy. On the other hand, the way Larkin explores people's naivety to death and explicitly expressing the aspects of death again could be seen as to precise and therefore unsympathetic.

  2. Behind many of Larkins poems lies a raft of political assumptions, assess the extent ...

    The use of the word ?Lying? is likely to be a pun the two meanings being that the album was physically lying near the television and more metaphorically it could mean that the wedding album itself is telling lies and in fact the wedding was not the great day it

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