• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Ambulances" by Philip Larkin.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

CRITIACAL EVALUATION "Ambulances" by Philip Larkin uses the every day incident of someone being taken away in an ambulance to convey the ideas of human life. The poem discusses the idea of the closeness of death; it's randomness and its inevitability. I am going to look at how effectively Philip Larkin uses this everyday occurrence to lead to the general or universal statement: death will come to us all at some point no matter who you are. I will show this by discussing the use of word choice, theme and setting. In stanza one, the impression that an accident can happen anywhere at any time is created by the feeling of menace. This is shown by the thought that ambulances can "come to rest at any kerb" suggesting that it doesn't matter where you are an accident can happen. The use of the word "any" helps to emphasise this point and convey the theme of the randomness of death. The idea that death comes to us all is suggested by "All streets in time are visited". ...read more.

Middle

A clever technique used in this stanza by Larkin was colour imagery. The use of colour red in the description of the "stretcher blankets" signifies death and the contrast with "wild white face" may allude to the red and white symbol of the Red Cross. I feel the point Larkin was trying to stress here was that even in a normal place with everyday activities going on around you, death can still strike. There is a more reflective quality about stanza three. The comment of onlookers as they watch the ambulance leave "poor soul" is really directed at themselves, as they realise their own vulnerability to sickness and ultimately, death. The use of the word "emptiness" is used to continue the idea that we will all die, with the repetition of "and" adding weight to emphasise this. By using "we" in "under all we do" suggests that the futility of life, that is Larkins theme throughout, applies to the patient, himself as well as the reader. ...read more.

Conclusion

The thought that the ambulance brings the patient "closer what is left to come" is symbolic of the poets view that we are always rushing towards death. The final line leaves us with the idea of how death makes life "dulls to distance" and everything that made the life disappears forever. After reading and analysing "Ambulances" it is obvious how well Larkin manages to use this ordinary everyday accident, to give the reader and insight into the apparent futility of life; death will come to us all no matter who we are or what we do, it is just a matter of time. I can see where Larkin is coming from but I believe that all we can do is the best we can with the time given to us. We have to understand the choices we have already made and make sure that when the day comes we can make it across the river of death to reach the other side: death should never be unexpected, you should be ready for it. The reason is in Larkin's own thinking, death comes to us all it's only a matter of time. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

This is a very strong essay that ranges around the text and makes coherent and relevant links between different points in the poem. Apt points are considered in real life contexts and plenty of evidence from the text is used to support the interpretations made.

5 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 07/08/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. The two poems " Because I Could Not Stop for Death" and " Death ...

    by saying " wee wake eternally" which gives a feeling of hope. The poet uses language effectively in the poem by using enjambment to create rhythm e.g. ""die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee; It contains 14 lines which a sonnet which is the syntax of the

  2. War Poems. I Was Only Nineteen by Redgum and And the Band Played Waltzing ...

    In the poem 'I was only Nineteen' the line, 'Barking M16' is a graphic use of an onomatopoeia, a vivid imagine of guns disturbing the dark jungle barking like dogs in the night disturbing the suburbs is portrayed, evokes the idea that war is a torturous experience and not glorious.

  1. What were they like

    In the answer 2, Denise Levertov tells us that they maybe did hold ceremonies "perhaps they gathered once to delight in blossom" Levertov uses the words "perhaps" and " once" which indicates that nobody really knew if they did worship nature as it was a long time ago.

  2. Choose two or three characters from the poem you have studied - Discuss how ...

    " The six hundred in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" are hard to describe as individuals. They were all brave patriots who risked their lives for a just cause. Tennyson wrote this poem to commemorate the dignified six hundred.

  1. Consider how and why the poetry of War has changed over time

    Tennyson sets this out with a soldier shouting it, to emphasise to the reader that they had hope about the mission. Then he asks a rhetorical question "Was there a man dismayed?" He makes this rhetorical by answering the question instantly with "Not though the soldiers knew."

  2. Closely analyse pages 3-7 of Chapter 1 in Brighton Rock. How effectively does ...

    The character of Pinkie is known as 'the boy' in this chapter. This could be because of the possible insignificance to everyone else in this chapter or Greene wants to point out the image of Pinkie being so young, as a boy, early on in the novel so that we

  1. Comparing the two poems Refugee Blues by W H Auden and Disabled by Wilfred ...

    He remembers how before he had become disabled, he had been a renowned football player, and was proud of the blood cut on his leg which had resulted from a match., and how the crowd had carried him on their shoulders celebrating how excellent he was.

  2. The Last Night and Disabled are both piecesof writing describing children in the theatre ...

    takes this effect more literally with the holocaustkilling millions of people. This seems moreeffective as people can relate to the holocaust assomething real that actually happened not so longago. "Disabled" however needs imagination andthought to dig out its true meaning, creating animage not quite real enough.The use of emotive language

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work