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An Arundel Tomb

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Introduction

An Arundel Tomb A poem in which the poet explores the significance of the passage of time is An Arundel Tomb by Philip Larkin. Larkin uses techniques such as, imagery and word choice to achieve this. Immediately, the title of the poem makes the reader consider the importance of the theme of time. An Arundel Tomb, when broken down to each single word the connotations are; 'An' portraying only one; 'Arundel' a town near Chichester in England where this tomb is actually present; and 'Tomb', the word tomb gives away the poem most because it makes you begin to think about how tombs are usually only for rich people and were mostly for people who were of some sort of royalty or importance and also the idea of death, people only go into the tomb after they have died. The people who the tomb was made for was an earl and countess which kind of proves the point about people being rich to afford a tomb. Similarly, the structure of the poem highlights Larkin's concern with the passage of time, the poem is written in seven stanzas with an ABBCAC regular rhyme scheme. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, word choice is important in helping us to consider the issue of time. There are contrasting words in the poem, such as "sharp tender shock" which is a contrast because if you get a sharp shock it isn't going to be very tender, similarly "their supine stationery voyage" shows a contrast because when you think about stationery you think about staying still and when you think about voyage you think of travelling. He uses this to make the reader think about contrasts between the Earl and Countess. There is also a lot of alliteration of sibilants in the poem, such as "soon succeeding". The sh and h sounds in the poem bring across soft, peaceful sounds reminding us of eternal sleep which in a sense is what death is, for example "helpless in the hollow". The word "lie" is ambiguous because it has two meanings and in the poem the reader could take the word lie for either meaning. The word pre-baroque is a word that I think is quite good because it simply means plain and old which brings your mind back to the passage of time. ...read more.

Conclusion

As a whole, the poet effectively conveys the significance of the passage of time, I think that the poem as a whole portrays that love doesn't always withstand the passage of time however much we want it to. The poem wants us to think about the passage of time and how things change from one time to another. I think Larkin thinks that love is not the issue, that the passage of time is. In conclusion, I enjoyed this poem and it made me think about the changes that time holds for everyone. I particularly liked in the enjambment, or connection between the fourth and fifth stanza "to look, not read. Rigidly they persisted, linked through lengths and breadths of time" the fourth stanza flows gently into the fifth stanza. I liked this enjambment because it shows you that the time has changed. Some time ago people would have read what the tomb said and now people just look because the lengths and breadths of time have changed people. Gillian Wishart ...read more.

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