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In what way could 'The Explosion be considered the key to the entire collection'

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Introduction

In what way could 'The Explosion be considered the key to the entire collection' Larkin begins by setting a distance between himself and the miners. They are shadows pointing towards the pithead - it is to be their catastrophe. He will not become personally involved in their fate but is a detached observer, a trait found in many of his poems. Apart from rare occasions like that of 'old fools' where a 'we' shows Larkin's admittance an involvement with the aging process. In 'The Explosion' he wishes to allow the catastrophe and characters to stand independently worthy to have their suffering noted without sentimentality. Larkin uses imagery such as "Coughing oath-edged talk and pipe-smoke," to show that the fated men are simple, ordinary young men of their time swearing, smoking, proud of their strength and stature unaware of there fate. This may be Larkin's way of showing how life should be treasured, especially youth; this is shown in many of his poems such as 'Old fools'. ...read more.

Middle

These men are shown to be part of a close community simply, elegantly suggested by, "Fathers, brothers, nicknames, laughter" yet Larkin himself was not a family man, never marrying of even showing a want of a family during his life. The poem 'This be the Verse' shows Larkin's view on parents that 'They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do'. Yet by showing family members all entwined in this community the reader has a greater sense of the loss once they are gone. The families are under grave threat due to the mining accident suggested in the lines, "Through the tall gates standing open" These are the gates of fate, inescapable. This may be Larkins way of showing how death is unescapable, humans can deny it at times as shown in the trees when the tress do 'Their yearly trick of looking new'. Similar to the way humans hide behind makeup, plastic surgery etc.But the explosion seems to show a final acceptance that old age is simply a factor of life and happens to all. ...read more.

Conclusion

Larkin uses this knowledge to transform what would be a sad and meaningless accident into an occasion of transformation and grace. In the religious imaginations of the wives the men are seen "for a second" as transformed into gold, metal of purity and endurance. In this new changed appearance they will live in the memories of their wives. The poem ends with the image of the unbroken eggs. The eggs are also transformed; now they may represent the hope of resurrection or the preciousness of memory or the strength of the bonds of love. In this poem Larkin offers readers the renewal vision that flashed into the shocked serious hearts of the miners' wives. For once the readers are shown a hope that Larkin himself leads us to think he wants to believe one of ongoing life after death, the poem is an appropriate one for the end of the collections and as it gathers together his many views and ideas portrayed within the book it could be said to be the key to the collection. ...read more.

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