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How Larkin Portrays The Past and Attitudes To It In MCMXIV and Home Is So Sad.

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Becky Wardle 12w How Larkin Portrays The Past and Attitudes To It In MCMXIV and Home Is So Sad The title of the first poem is in Roman numerals. This grabs the readers attention and makes him work out the translation into English. It in fact translates as 1914, the year of the beginning of the First World War. The title also links to Romans, who in the 50/60's were often portrayed as great warriors, forever in battle, conquering foreign lands. The use of roman numerals emphasises the date and gives us the impression that Larkin has a lot of respect for those soldiers who fought for their country. The poem opens with setting the scene, which Larkin often does. Immediately, we can see the contrast Larkin makes about the scene he can see and the modern day (1950's), in observing how patiently the men stand and wait, criticising the hustle and bustle of this century. ...read more.


Larkin does not use enjambment to illustrate the sense of holding on to the innocent times where no-one was killed and everyone was willing to please. He also uses informal language to emphasise how comfortable people felt with each other. The final stanza explains how the war took away the innocence that people had and hit them with issues that they had never before considered. I think Larkin craves to live in that period of time where war had not yet affected lives, before the country's priorities changed and people were innocent and unaware of what was about to happen. In this century, people would be a lot less willing to fight for their country because of the experience of the World Wars. I still think that Larkin respects but men who fought, but towards the end of the poem, it became clear that he also pitied them for not knowing what was going to happen, for signing themselves up to die. ...read more.


The second stanza is more negative and contrasts the fond thoughts of the first. The phrase 'Long fallen wide' portrays how the memories may last but in reality, there is a big difference between what you remember it to be like and what it has become. Your memories fall short of expectations and it is too late to go back and put it right. The final 3 lines explain how when you were there, things seem insignificant (the pictures, cutlery etc..) but looking back, you realise how important they were and how so many little things made it what it was. They are now just a reminder of what has gone that can never be brought back. The rhyme pattern (ABABA) is simple and regular, symbolising the journey through life and the regular decisions that have to be made. How you make these decisions is up to you and sometimes you will get it right and sometimes you will get it wrong. The whole poem is based on taking things for granted and not knowing how happy you are until it has gone. ...read more.

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