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

Larkin and Abse on relationships. The essay will discuss this contrast by examing Larkins Whitsun Weddings, Wild Oats and Arundel Tomb, and Dannie Abses Imitations and Sons

Extracts from this document...


Larkin and abse discussing relationships Philip Larkin and Dannie Abse have very different and contrating attitudes to relationships. On the whole, Larkin presents the concepts of love and marriage as very superficial and meaningless, whereas Abse appears to be less such nihilistic and more open and positive about such topics. The essay will discuss this contrast by examing Larkin's "Whitsun Weddings", "Wild Oats" and "Arundel Tomb", and Dannie Abse's "Imitations" and "Sons". The poem entitled `The Whitsun Weddings` is an observational piece by Larkin when he was travelling from Hull to London by train. The poem has seven stanzas and is is typical of Larkin. The words are simple, the emotions are blunted and the verse is packed with cynicism, as on the whole, he was a grumpy individual. Whit Sunday falls on the 7th Sunday after Easter and years ago it was a public holiday. Whit Sunday and Whit Monday are important days in the religious calendar otherwise known as the Pentecost. At a time when most of the families in Great Britain were in a celebratory Bank holiday mood Larkin was feeling discontent as he embarked on his train journey from Hull to London. Larkin has used the first line of each stanza to tell us what that particular verse is going to be all about, in the subsequent lines Larkin then tells us his tale. In stanza one the scene is set, Larkin had a late start and the lunchtime train from Hull to London felt clammy because ...read more.


no such optimism, he focuses on the fact that he has no son and probably never will, much like in Larkin's "Dockery and Son" where he contemplates his lack of contribution to his species existence of how his life when he dies will cease to have meaning. The poem 'An Arundel Tomb' written by Phillip Larkin illustrates the relationship between two forms found on a tomb. This poem shows the 'lies' love can tell, and the falseness of how their relationship is portrayed. The fact that their hands are clasped in one another's grip is seen to be symbolic of their undying and everlasting love for each other. Larkin uses humour, along with sarcasm and irony to demonstrate that this is in fact symbolic of nothing and merely by 'a sculptor's sweet commissioned grace'. How can we believe this evident lie, for it is not them who have chosen to be placed like this? Therefore it cannot be a true show of emotions. Furthermore not just one life but two, and how their personalities were adjoined together cannot merely be judged by the way their hands have been similarly adjoined together on their tombstone. Archaic language is used within this poem to emphasise the age of the tombs. In the first line of the first stanza it says 'their faces blurred' this also illustrates the age of the tombs and how long it has been since they had lived and felt this 'love', as it shows the stone has begun to corrode. ...read more.


The poetic intention of the poem is made blatantly clear using sarcasm in the final three lines of the poem. That the love has died with them and the 'attitude' that remains is an 'untruth'. The rhyme scheme also mirrors this, 'prove' rhymes with 'love', showing poetic irony as the love has been disproved. The final three lines of the poem show Larkin's affective use of sarcasm and wit; the quantifier 'almost' is repeated, suggesting in subtle tones to the reader this is in fact sarcasm. The poem ends with no enjambment but a full stop adding the bluntness of the last line, 'What will survive of us is love.' This also emphasises that as the poem has ended as has the love between this Earl and Countess. This poem is observational and though provoking and leaves questions in the readers mind on the subject of love and namely time and the changes that occur over time. I conclude that this is yet another nihilistic Larkin poem, which finishes on the question, "does love endure?" his answer, is a plain no! Therefore overall we can say that Abse holds far more positive and uplifting views on relationships shown by the poem "Sons" where he describes his offspring's teenage behaviour, then admitting "I was like that" as if to appease him and always showing the bond between father and Son. Such a bond is absent in Larkin's life and this transfers into his poetry accordingly. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nick Gill ...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. Poetry and Melancholy in Sheers Examination of Welsh Identity

    Both the grandfather and Albrecht know that their consolation is 'only temporary,' as Albrecht admits on page 139, and they are both suspended between life and death. This idea is supported by the placement of 'driftwood' at the end of the line; we are forced to merely drift through our

  2. Compare the way Larkin and Plath present human relationships in their poems.

    Larkin uses words with negative connotations such as 'unrest', 'difficult' and 'isolation' to show the damaging feelings in a relationship, and contradicts the idea of what a relationship is supposed to be about. Words such as 'isolation' are emotive and Larkin uses feelings that can be felt universally.

  1. This essay will attempt to offer a close, detailed comparison of the following pair ...

    The speaker says that a voice was always whispering in their ears as they went that "this was all folly". The magus seems generally unimpressed by the infant, and yet he realizes that the incarnation has changed everything. He asks, ".

  2. How are relationships represented in John Donnes The Flea and The Sunne Rising?'

    East and West Indies, well known in the Elizabethan time as areas of high wealth. Whereas Shakespeare in Sonnet 130 mocks the idea of comparing people to things they are not, such as 'My mistresses eyes are nothing like the sun,' Donne exaggerates this idea to put across the point that she is better than the sun.

  1. Compare and contrast the use of language, tone and effect in Larkin's "MCMXIV" and ...

    The enjambment used between stanzas one and two can be portrayed in many different ways: "I know this is paradise/Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives" The line break suggests that Larkin is being sarcastic. The line break suggests that maybe a question mark is intended for a rhetorical question.

  2. Explore the theme of loneliness or loss and discuss how the writer has conveyed ...

    instead of "So now that you are dead". This shows that the narrator is coming to terms with her husband's death because she will always have a constant reminder of him, in his illegitimate son. Gardam also uses repetition and parallelism when the narrator addresses her husband "Now that you are dead".

  1. Larkin often seems to criticise society. In the light of this statement, what connections ...

    In addition to this, the use of the word 'tribes' is particularly powerful and evokes this idea of animals and removes their traits as a human being. Larkin's use of 'slow dying' also helps to emphasise his views that these people aren't contributing to society, just slowly dying as they

  2. Women are dismissed as insignificant in both the poetry of Larkin and Eliot. How ...

    Cleopatra is a symbol of true love; she committed suicide after her love died, but Eliot?s female persona is surrounded by the corruption of sex, with a picture on the wall depicting the rape of Philomel, and her loveless relationship with the man, who centres on indifference.

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