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

'Larkin is often thought of as a gloomy poet, describing life and the world around him in a drab and depressing manner.' Explore this idea in light of your reading of 'This Be the Verse'.

Extracts from this document...


'Larkin is often thought of as a gloomy poet, describing life and the world around him in a drab and depressing manner.' Explore this idea in light of your reading of 'This Be the Verse'. Larkin's 'This Be the Verse' delivers a damning message to its reader that could be said to be typical of the man Larkin was. The poem describes how parents have passed on all their faults and bad habits to their children for centuries. The poem's crude meaning is characteristic of much of Larkin's other work, for example 'High Windows'. Larkin makes no attempt within the poem to conceal the message he is giving to the reader. The message is clear and blunt; the poem certainly contains no hidden meaning. He is basically saying that generations of parents have continued to pass on all the wrong things to the children. The opening line reads: "They fuck you up, your mum and dad." When you consider that the majority of us look upon our parents as the people who carve our characters, bring us up and support us the first line is quite damning of all mothers and fathers and when put into context is probably a revelation to many of us readers. ...read more.


The poem is written in an aggressive tone and swearing is frequent: "But they were fucked up in their turn". While this use of colloquial language has lost impact in today's society, it is still enough to shock the reader and catch their attention. In contrast to today's society though, this sort of message and use of language would have certainly been frowned upon during Larkin's heyday. Throughout the poem Larkin points to a vicious circle of generations of parents passing on their faults to their children: "They fill you with the faults they had, And add some extra, just for you." He accepts the circle as part of society and claims that it cannot be stopped or halted. To him, parents have no control over what they do, they pass on these faults whether they like it or not. In one way he is almost apologetic for those parents who pass on their faults: "But they were fucked up in their turn". He points to the fact that it was their parents who "fucked them up". ...read more.


Maybe the Victorian way of life suppressed Larkin so much he used his early poems as a release, a medium with which to vent his anger. In summing up, I personally feel that Larkin's message throughout the poem is fuelled by his ill feeling toward his own childhood. Another factor that must be taken into consideration is that Larkin was seemingly unable to commit to a relationship. This modest man was unlikely to have any children himself and maybe this poem's message was driven by jealously although this is only a personal thought. This poem also mocks religion and what religion stands for. Religion is renowned for showing people the right way to do things and what to believe in, yet the title of this poem sees Larkin casually dismissing religion, pointing to his own teaching as being one of more importance. The poem displays a continuous casual breaking of religious rules and clearly disregards religion's purpose. What is most intriguing about the poem is that Larkin considers the idea of parents passing on their flaws as a natural process that cannot be stopped. 29/08/2004 By Dean Chard ...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)

    When Larkin wrote this poem in 1973 his mother was 87, and was in the decline described within the poem, in a nursing home. Even the title of the poem is controversial, his language shows disgust: 'drools... pissing yourself... ash hair, toad hands, prune face'.

  2. Marked by a teacher

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

    3 star(s)

    The subject matter is that of aged' male bonding seen from a humorous perspective and thus a comical tone is sought by Larkin "the lamplit cave, where Jan turns back and farts". This poem dispels any thoughts of Larkin as grumpy as it is a celebration in the ironic form

  1. In Philip Larkins poem, This Be the Verse, he uses strong language to get ...

    The word "they" is repeated five times in this poem for describing the parent. By using the word they, instead of your parents, it makes the parents sound disconnected and that there are two sides you and them. However, in the next line he states "And add some extra, just

  2. Do you find Larkins verse critical of ordinary people or does he champion their ...

    This portrays the idea that Larkin thinks he is above these people. There is a sense of time passing with "hearing the hours chime" representing the boredom the toads face on a daily basis. Whilst all this is very critical of these people; the second repetition of "think of being

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

    High Windows shows a rather cynical view of religion, suggesting that it no longer matters in modern society. This view is mentioned briefly in The Building as well, with the mention of 'a locked church' and the comparision between patients of the hospital and an 'unseen congregation'.

  2. Larkin - Churchgoing and High Windows

    Although he received and accepted numerous awards for his writing, Larkin refused to accept the nomination as England's Poet Laureate. When Larkin died from cancer in 1985, a great deal of his poems was left unpublished. However, Anthony Thwaite edited a book of Larkin's collected poems, many of which were previously unpublished.

  1. Larkin - Consider

    What they want (Cheap suits, red kitchenware, sharp shoes...) is not what he wants, it is too "cut-price" and cheap. He describes Hull as the average persons city, "urban yet simple", filled with average people. However, it seems as if Larkin is pushing himself to loathe these people, trying to

  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

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