"Afternoons" by Philip Larkin analysis.
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ï»¿Discuss how the narrator approaches the themes of ageing and relationships This is a melancholy poem, which reflects on the subject of marriage. The poem deal with Larkinâs view on young mothers watching their children playing in a playground and he concludes that marrying young leads to the mothers losing their identity. Larkinâs description of young mothers taking their children to a playground seems like normal but the narratorâs point of view on life is expressed. What seems like an ordinary, everyday occurrence highlights the theme of change and how it cannot be avoided and the passing of time. Larkinâs choice of words, symbolism and imagery clearly portrays this passage of time and the routines of these mothersâ lives. The first line sets the scene at the beginning of autumn, âsummer is fading.â Seasons are used to symbolise certain stages in life. In autumn, most life starts to fade away in front of our eyes. This illustrates how these mothers lives are deteriorating, and how their family have become the only thing they live for.
This shows that these motherâs lives will never change. They watch as their children play freely while time passes them by and they do not have a future to look forward to as it will be the same as every other day. The choice of words emphasises this, and shows the theme time. The narratorâs observations of these womenâs lives show just how much time has affected them. As the poem continues it implies how this mother past has been forgotten, âAnd the albums, lettered Our Wedding, lying Near the television.â This shows how the womenâs lives are drained of romance. A womanâs wedding day is the happiest day of her life which would be a significant and special memory. However, the narrator describes the pictures from this day are sitting next to the television which shows how they are just seem like a piece of clutter. The television is also a routine in which we all fall into.
This theme of time and ageing is created by describing the demands of these children. These womenâs lives have been ruled by the demands of their children. The last two lines in the poem show the loss of control these women have regarding their lives. âSomething is pushing them To the side of their own lives.â This implies these women have no control and the only thing controlling them is the demands of their family. Their feelings are no longer valued, they cannot make a choice for themselves, and it has to benefit their family. This also suggests the narrator does not believe it is these mothers fault for the emptiness in their lives. They are not seen as worthy people, they are there to serve the needs of their children and husbands. This shows just how these womenâs lives have been affected by time. Their lives have diminished in front of their eyes, and now they will have to watch their children do the same.
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