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Women are dismissed as insignificant in both the poetry of Larkin and Eliot. How far do you agree with this view?

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Introduction

Victoria Hughes ?Women are dismissed as insignificant in both the poetry of Larkin and Eliot.? How far do you agree with this view? On the surface, the observations that Eliot and Larkin make about women in their poems suggests that they are predominantly disinterested towards them, shown in their cynicism, cruel language and the objectification of women personas. But this is only the view if you are looking at the women as literal representations of themselves. In many of the poems the women are used symbolically as a way of communicating larger messages more easily, and allowing them to be portrayed in a way which is understandable and relatable to the reader, such as directly using the voice and thoughts of a persona, or the setting in which they stand. Eliot and Larkin both explore the theme of the degradation of sex and the corruption of relationships that exist between human beings. In doing this, both poets portray women as objects that are victims of society?s exploitation, used purely for lustful and seedy encounters. Eliot?s Wasteland is amongst other things a critique on sexuality, exploring this corruption of sex, introduced first in A Game of Chess, and extending to The Fire Sermon. ...read more.

Middle

Speak./What are you thinking of? What thinking? What??? These violent images to which the women has no control over are repeated in the latter half of this section, in which a woman has no power regarding contraception, having to resort to an abortion, which takes its toll on her body; ?I?ve never been the same.? directly referring to gender inequality of the time, and the lack of empowerment which women held, being unable to control certain aspects of their lives, be it contraception or abortions. These images show a very accurate and detailed observation of women but are portrayed by Eliot in a sympathetic light, unlike that of Larkin?s poetry, which seems much more dismissive of women. One interpretation of women in Larkin and Eliot?s poetry, which does not reflect the view that women are insignificant to the poets, is that the women are not literal, but a symbolic representation; a vessel used to communicate other ideas. This would mean that it is not women being ridiculed and dismissed in their poetry, but the idea?s they represent. In Eliot?s poetry the women seem to represent society, with the male personas such as Prufrock, estrangement from society, not a woman, with the difference in mental state between himself and those in the society immediately surrounding him. ...read more.

Conclusion

is about identity, fulfilment and the legacy which we as individuals leave behind, rather than children and families, so it is unfair to say Larkin is being dismissive of women in this poem. ?Larkins fury against women is not so much a declared state of siege against them personally as it is an internal battle raging within himself.?[3] This reflects the contrasting views that although Larkin did have various long-lasting and fulfilling relationships with women in his life, suggesting his dependency on women, he never fully committed to one of them; at one point in his life he was emotionally attached to 3 of them simultaneously. On the surface, the view that suggests Larkin and Eliot?s contempt for women is apparent in many of their poems. Women are seen to be portrayed as the inferior sex, concerned mainly with keeping up facades, and easily be used for exploitation. Although another view is that both poets use women symbolically, rather than literally, as a way to represent a larger idea, such as the consumerist nature of society, or in fact themselves, allowing them so explore ideas with more depth and effectiveness. Taking this view into consideration, it would be unfair to say they dismiss women as insignificant, because it is not the nature of women being explored. ...read more.

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