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Theme of religion in Philip Larkin's Church Going

  • Essay length: 744 words
  • Submitted: 11/03/2010
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AS and A Level Philip Larkin

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Church Going

Philip Larkin's Church Going reflects upon the place of churches in society and how they will last. Larkin bases the poem on his experience when visiting a church. Throughout the poem, Larkin moves towards a general, universal statement: religion will survive, even after churches fall into disrepair.

In the poem, the narrator initially identifies the deterioration of churches. Larkin's word choice in stanzas 1: "brownish", "musty" and "sprawlings" give the impression of something uncared for. Brownish and musty , in particular suggest decay. Sprawlings connotes spread out in a disordered fashion. The negative description of the church shows the narrator's first impression. Larkin's description of the poor condition of the churches progresses to show his lack of admiration for churches.

Larkin in "Church Going" puts forth the view that he is unimpressed by churches. He describes them as "another church" : it's the same as the others and there is nothing that makes it stand out. While musing whether the church's roof is new or been cleaned Larkin says: "Someone must know: I don't ". This is very dismissive. The narrator does not appreciate the cosmetic effort. The narrator also talks about donating money

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