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'Afternoons' - Philip Larkin

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'Afternoons' - Philip Larkin He was a man who was fearful of death and disliked any travelling abroad. He was a reclusive man who kept the curtains drawn to keep the sun from fading his books. He dies in 1985; he was to have all his diaries shredded. In the poem he writes he often seems like an outsider observing people's lives, as in this poem where he is watching mothers and their children in a play area. The poem is set out in three stanzas. The first stanza the poet is explaining how the parent's youth is fading by the opening line. ...read more.


"In the hollows of the afternoons" This means that the mothers had some free time and that the afternoons are meaningless and empty. This sentence is a metaphor. In the second stanza there is more nostalgic than the other stanzas. The second stanza is telling us about the way the husband provides financial support. The women were the ones who did the chores at home, looked after the children and did the washing. It was the mans job to help the young mothers with money and with support of housing. " Behind them, at intervals, Stand husbands in skilled trades, An estateful of washing.." ...read more.


The wind before them was a sign of autumn and that it was beginning to come cold. In the last stanza Philip is trying to tell us that there are still courting places but they are not being used by the older generation, they are being used by the next generation. "That are still courting - places (But lovers are all in school), And their children, so intent on Finding more unripe acorns, Expect to be taken home." The older generation are being replaced by the next generation. It is like the circle of life, the older generation die and the new take on motherhood and living, then they have children and the whole process happens again. "Their beauty has thickened. Something is pushing them To the side of their own lives." Lucinda Wride ...read more.

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