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

Larkin’s poetry often deals with the dissatisfaction of modern living and the reality of life today. With reference to at least two poems show how true this is.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Larkin's poetry often deals with the dissatisfaction of modern living and the reality of life today. With reference to at least two poems show how true this is. To answer this I will be looking at poems taken from Philip Larkin's collection 'The Whitsun Weddings.' The two poems I have chosen to focus on in more depth are 'MCMXIV' and 'A Study of Reading Habits' 'MCMXIV' has often been read as a nostalgic poem as it reflects the speakers desire to return to some earlier time in their life, but is also a poem tinged with sadness as it deals with the period before and immediately after World War One. It reflects the vanishing way of traditional English life and how the speaker is saddened by the changing world. As the title 'MCMXIV' suggests it is a poem, which looks at the past and in contrast to the reality of the world today. The detailed descriptions seem to suggest the speaker is looking at old photographs. Stanza one for example may show that the speaker is looking at on old photograph that shows, 'Long uneven lines standing as patiently as if they were stretched outside the oval...' These long lines maybe the queues of conscripts waiting to sign up to join the army. This shows how in the past people were very willing and eager to fight and even risk their own lives, and also how close the community was in 1914. ...read more.

Middle

The towns became a place where people feared they might be targeted by bombs and even the countryside changed. Young children were evacuated from large towns like London and moved into the countryside where they were safer. Men were called up for war so there were fewer people to grow and harvest crops. After the war, the country never did return to normality as it caused so much corruption and it took many years to rebuilt towns and cities. After world war one things had to change and people could only remember what was. This poet does it by looking at photographs and successfully recalls what the past was like and how he is dissatisfied with the reality of the world today. The next poem I will look at is called 'A Study of Reading Habits' and again Larkin looks at how he is dissatisfied with the reality of modern living. Philip Larkin's "A Study of Reading Habits," is the ironic difference between slang and formal language. The formal language in the title implies the poem is about drawing conclusions of people's reading habits. It also suggests that the poem is going to be very boring and in many ways puts the reader off from reading on. Instead, the poem is the confession of one man whose attitudes toward reading have slowly diminished to the point where books are nothing but 'a load of crap'. The poem is not about the man's reading habits, but the reality of his life. ...read more.

Conclusion

It presents a first-person speaker who has been unable to cope with the reality of his life and as a result has turned to an alternative ways to escape the reality of his life. The speaker has gone from being good to evil and vicious which is also shown by a change in his reading tastes, from adventure stories, to sexual novels, to not reading at all. The attitude he has toward reading is ironically reflected in his life, which is now 'a load of crap'. Again this poem reflects how the speaker is disappointed with the way his life is now, yet looking back it was better. Now it seems the speaker has given up and is no longer leading a happy lifestyle. The feeling he has for books is reflected in his life, because it is 'a load of crap' Both of these poems have strong feelings of dissatisfaction of the reality of living today. However I think 'MCMXIV' is the most successful at doing this as it creates a contrast between pre war lifestyles and the lifestyles of today. It also draws contrasts between the lifestyles of people in the town and those living in the countryside at the time of war in 1914. 'Never be such innocence again' is the sentence used to end the poem, which gives us a feeling of real let down and pathos and also disappointment. After the war things had to change even if people didn't want to change. People could only remember what was. Things had to move on, and things had to change. ...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)

    The submissiveness of these people is underlined by the word 'confess' which also hints at the way that the hospital now takes place of the cathedral since no-one takes comfort in religion. This is signified by the locked church in stanza 6.

  2. Philip Larkin's Church Going.

    As everything else, the hope that one carries will disintegrate with exposure to the world, and upon realization one will see that without religion, only the physical remains. In response to the rhetorical question he poses in the previous stanza, "what remains when disbelief is gone?"

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

    Yet other things remained unaltered. Marian Maudsley still has the power to bewitch Leo, to emotionally blackmail him, to make him carry out a final "errand of love". Despite himself Leo is compelled to enter the world of Brandham Hall once more to deliver Marian's words to her grandson, Ted

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

    The Trees does not have as many evocative phrases. This may be because the poet is trying to create the effect of the poem being more of a 'sob story' of how life is too short. The adjectives he does use are in the form of complaints: "...greenness..."

  1. Discuss the effectiveness and significance of Larkin's evocation of place in his poetry with ...

    In this poem he discusses Ireland as not being corrupted into routine by modernisation, "Since it was not home, strangeness made sense". Larkin employs an inversion on language by stating, "Strangeness made sense". This could be interpreted as symbolises the nature of his displacement of how he has no identity there.

  2. By Close Reading Of At Least Three Of His Poems, Discuss The Qualities That ...

    The next line makes work sound very large and as if one cannot move around freely with it. 'Can't I use a pitchfork And drive the brute off?' The stanzas of this poem are presented in a very structured way and the rhythm is repetitive and keeps on going, again

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

    A conventional characteristic of Larkin is that he tends to examine people who themselves are observing something. This characteristic is shown particularly within Ambulances, a poem describing people witnessing a body being taken by an ambulance. The interest in death that people are demonstrating reflects the poet's interest in death

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

    class consciousness the view that one can never leave their birth class but instead think they can.

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