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Larkin's biographer Andrew Motion claims that the 'Whitsun Weddings' "Tackles the big issues in the language of ordinary speech". Explore the themes and language of Larkin's poetry with reference to these observations.

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Larkin's biographer Andrew Motion claims that the 'Whitsun Weddings' "Tackles the big issues in the language of ordinary speech". Explore the themes and language of Larkin's poetry with reference to these observations. I agree with Larkin's biographer Andrew Motion that the Whitsun Weddings tackle the big issues in the language of ordinary speech. There are several poems that I have selected to display the themes and language of Larkin's poetry. These poems are: "Mr.Bleaney","MCMXIV" and "Sunny Prestatyn". I will begin by looking at the poem 'Sunny Prestatyn'. This poem deals with the reality of life today. Larkin describes how an alluring and provocative image of a girl on an advertising poster has been and defaced. The language used by Larkin to describe this image backs up what Andrew Motion has claimed. "...she was slapped up one day in March. ...huge tits and a fissured crotch... ...a tuberous cock and balls." Larkin's shocking choice of diction has reflected the shocking theme of the poem and of the defacement of the poster. ...read more.


The description of Mr. Bleaneys dull and lacking in character bedroom is also reflecting the character himself as well as contributing to the overall mood of the poem. Ordinary everyday speech is used throughout this poem to not only help describe Mr.Bleaney and his lifestyle, but to convey an extremely realistic image of the character. The language used by Larkin is very plain ordinary speech. Larkin could have used more complex language to create the image of Mr.Bleaney, but by keeping it plain and literal the right mood and tone of the poem is obtained as well as the language mirroring the character. "...Bed upright chair, sixty-watt bulb, no hook ...his preference for sauce to gravy, why? ...He stood and watched the frigid wind ...One hired box should make him pretty sure He warranted no better." The quotations above are plain images of Mr.Bleaney and his 'hired box'. Irrelevant details that the persona has included of his or her impression of Mr.Bleaney such as: 'his preference for sauce to gravy, why?' ...read more.


Larkin's yearning for the past is recognized by his constant referral to old fashioned items and customs (i.e. half day closings, farthings, sovereigns etc). It is also shown in his use of old language. For example "archaic", "limousines" and "lark". There are certain words in this poem that Larkin has used for their nostalgic quality. The word 'archaic' means old - which also relates to theme of the poem. I agree with Andrew Motions statement for this particular poem, as the choice of diction is tackling the language of ordinary speech but from a time gone by. The main themes in this poem is nostalgia, finality and dissatisfaction with modern day living. Out of the three poems I have looked at, I feel that Sunny Prestatyn is the most effective for Larkin's use of ordinary everyday language. I think this because the words and tone chosen by Larkin for the poem help contribute to the overall effectiveness of the poem. I also feel that because the language of 'ordinary speech' is used carefully throughout, that the themes portrayed in the poem link closely with Andrew Motions observation. Louise Fell ...read more.

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