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Remind yourself of the last poem in the book: ‘An Arundel Tomb’.To what extent do you agree with the view that in terms of subject matter and style, this poem is an appropriate ending to the whole collection?

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Introduction

Remind yourself of the last poem in the book: 'An Arundel Tomb'. To what extent do you agree with the view that in terms of subject matter and style, this poem is an appropriate ending to the whole collection? The 'Whitsun Weddings' are a collection of poems written by Phillip Larkin that take you on an emotional, thought provoking rollercoaster ride as he describes the everyday things that he sees around him and in his own unique way brings them to life through his poetry. Possibly because he is unimpressed by the concept of mass consumerism: refusing to even buy himself a television until the 1970's. Larkin can be cruel in his portrayal of the 'cut-price' crowd and their 'cheap suits, ... red kitchen ware and sharp shoes.' ...read more.

Middle

If you don't believe in any particular religion or life after death as Larkin didn't then maybe there can be some comfort that life may not be futile and that death is not necessarily the end. The love that is portrayed owes more to the 'sculptors sweet commissioned grace' then to the real relationship between the earl and the countess, although it is a wonderful epitaph to love and it allows us to feel nostalgic and hopeful that love or the illusion of love can endure beyond the grave. Larkin uses e regular rhyme scheme to re-inforce the social status and stateliness of the earl and the countess, but also uses puns as 'Rigidly they Persisted, through lengths and breadths of time...They would not think to lie so long. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whilst there is a slightly depressing feeling with this poem that is quite a normal reaction when the thought of our own mortality and that of the people around us that we care for. This poem also infuses a certain optimism of the legacies that we leave behind us regardless of our personal religious beliefs, like the stone the effect of what we do can have a lasting effect long after we are gone: Larkins' work has survived him and will last for many years to come, maybe as long as Shakespeare who knows? Larkin chose to end this book on something that he loved (old graveyards and tombs) and is about the ultimate journey that we all will have to make sooner or later and as such is an excellent way to end the book. ...read more.

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