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Larkin "The Building".

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Introduction

Larkin put "The Building" in the middle of his collection for a reason, it is a pillar that supports the rest of the collection with its long lines and many verses, and because of this, is maybe a bit more clearer than some of his other poems in the ideas and views that are expressed through it. Of course, being a Larkin a poem, there is the obligatory underlayer whom so many people miss, but in "The Building" it is easier to discern and comprehend. The title of the poem, "The Building" already hints at the main theme of the poem. The word "building" is a very vague term and in it's vagueness one can make out the fright of the author for this building, he cannot specify that it is a hospital as if not saying the word will make it go away. At the same time in this poem, Larkin makes out the hospital as the real world, everything around it is fake so that the word "building" is put in contrast to his view of what it really is. ...read more.

Middle

Even when he sees a nurse, he cannot bring himself to make the connection, she is a "kind of nurse". In a hospital you lose all sense of your own identity, "homes and names Suddenly in abeyance", everybody is the same, everybody is "Human". To Larkin it still seems "alien", he describes everything in unusual terms "Cups back to saucers". This is what frightens him, to lose his identity, to be stripped bare, to see "the end of choice, the last of hope". Larkin cannot admit that death is natural, especially at that "vague age", there has to be an "error", people come "to confess that something has gone wrong". Larkin's description of the "Building" becomes negative and the feeling of approaching death is strong. He describes patients on the lift going up the hospital, all guessing which floor the other will get off at, all guessing how bad the "error" is in each. ...read more.

Conclusion

Not yet, perhaps not here, but in the end, And somewhere like this." As in most of his poems, he starts with a fear of something, in this case death but comes to realise later on that in fact it is only an inevitable part of life. And he also comes to understand that if people weren't so scared of death than life would be less valued as he hints to in the last part of the poem: "...a struggle to transcend The thought of dying, for unless its powers Outbuild cathedrals nothing contravenes..." The poem ends disturbingly with "With wasteful, weak, propitiatory flowers". The structure of the poem with nine verses of six lines adds up to 63, but that last odd line makes it more regular, it makes 64 which suggests 8x8, so that the last line might seem a bit irregular and odd but it also completes the poem (and also the rhyme scheme). ...read more.

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