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

How typical is the style and content of The Old Fools in Larkin's High Windows?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How typical is the style and content of The Old Fools in Larkin's High Windows? The Old Fools is primarily concerned with Larkin's fear of ageing and dying, a fear that pervades through the poems of High Windows. Using a slightly mocking tone, he attemps to understand the thoughts and feelings of the aged on the subject, but instead finds even more questions, and the inevitable realisation that "We will find out." Death is a frequently occurring subject in High Windows: in The Building, Dublinesque, Vers de Societe and The Explosin he explores the inevitability of death and it's consequences on his state of mind. Often, the idea of a lack of consolation from organised religion is present within these poems. Larkin, as an atheist, found little comfort in the idea of an afterlife, believing instead that "oblivion" was the eventual outcome for humankind: "...for unless its powers / Outbuild cathedrals, nothing contravenes / The coming dark..." Oblivion, as a general fate, is not all that appealing, yet Larkin manages to lift the spirit of The Old Fools with subtle touches of humour. ...read more.

Middle

This optimistic view does not seem to fit in with Larkin's fears about dying, but in actual fact the two sit well together throughout the collection, making the juxtaposition of the two ideas in The Old Fools fairly typical. The imagery of 'light', divided into natural and man-made categories, appears often in High Windows. Instances of both occur in The Old Fools, to different effects. Artificial light, here provided by the "lamp" in the "lighted rooms inside [their] head[s]" suggests loneliness, as Larkin felt that the increase in 'modern' technology would islolate humans, playing out his deep fear of dying alone. The same image is used in Vers de Societe, where Larkin suffers a dilemma: attend a dinner party, and listen to " the drivel of some bitch / Who's read nothing but Which..." or to stay at home, sit under his lamp and contemplate his age. He chooses to attend the party, simply because "sitting by a lamp more often brings / Not peace, but other things..." ...read more.

Conclusion

The Old Fools, however, does differ from the expectations of a 'typical' High Windows poem in some ways. The use of questions such as "Why aren't they screaming?" in the first stanza is not a technique Larkin favours, although it does occur in other poems. They have the function of conveying Larkin's uncertainty, and of making the reader question their own views on the subject, to re-evaluate their thoughts about death.By including the reader in the final line - "We shall find out." - Larkin makes it impossible to ignore the fate waiting for all of us, at some point. On the whole, I feel that the slightly deviant factors of the poem are not outweighed by the typical features style and content, however, as a matter of principle I would like to state that I think calling any poem 'typical' is unfair. Each poem has its own subtle contours that define it as a single piece, and to generalise between poems, even from the same anthology, is to overlook their worth as individual moments, captured and articulated by the poet. As Larkin himself wrote: " I believe that every poem should be its own sole freshly created universe." ...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

    Larkin is often portrayed as being obsessed by death, but High Windows is as ...

    5 star(s)

    much a cup' making the oddness of these people being in this place at 'half-past eleven on a working day' even more extreme- the life changing experiences occurring in a hospital are highlighted here. Those who wait, do so 'tamely', as with the elderly in 'The Old Fools' they have already lost their ability to choose.

  2. Marked by a teacher

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

    3 star(s)

    With Larkin's environment changing and altering around him, the only dependent and constant item in his life are his memories. However in 'Sad Steps' the memories which dominate his thoughts are not a source of comfort but instead distress "O wolves of memory...the strength and pain of being young".

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

    This is a device which is indeed similar to many of the other poems. In Here, Larkin lists the possessions of the city people, 'Electric mixers, toasters, washers, driers'. And finally, from Mr Bleaney, 'Bed, upright chair, sixty-watt bulb'. Larkin obviously uses the stark lists to create a greater description and more colourful insight.

  2. Larkin "The Building".

    But at the same time, a hospital has similarities with these places, it is in a way a sum-up of life, "there are paperbacks", "the porters are scruffy" and people sit on "rows of steel chairs".

  1. Compare and Contrast "Trees in the Garden" by D.H.Lawrence And "The Trees" by P.Larkin

    simultaneous and it is almost as if he is trying to capture this image on paper as it is happening. The structure of The Trees has a very strong sense of uniformity. This is because the poet wants to convey the thought that everybody lives a similar life, like the life cycle of the trees, i.e.

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

    is being spoken by someone of the previous generation looking at the speaker in their youth. This also occurs in Sympathy in White Major, which includes such lines as 'He devoted his life to others', which seems to be being said by someone at the speaker's funeral.

  1. Larkin - Churchgoing and High Windows

    In 1974 he bought a house in Hull, which he shared with his companion Monica Jones. Larkin's mother died in 1977, and after her death he wrote only 11 poems, although he produced a book of essays. In addition to poetry, Larkin had a lifelong admiration for jazz, evidenced by his nonfiction book, All What Jazz: A Record Diary.

  2. Comparing four or more poems, including those of Brian Pattern - Show how the ...

    Patten gives out the impression that at school everything has an answer however at home nothing adds up. He the goes on to use the ironic message 'but home sweet home' he uses irony to get the message across that he doesn't care.

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