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In Betjemans poems, the vivid depiction of particular places is always linked to the strong feelings they provoke. Do you agree?

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Introduction

'In Betjeman's poems, the vivid depiction of particular places is always linked to the strong feelings they provoke.' Do you agree? You should base your answer on a detailed examination of 2/3 appropriate poems of your choice. The poem, Harrow on the Hill, is littered with imagery. The fact that 'electric trains are lighted' echoes the idea of nature being interfered with by man; a vivid painting by Betjeman of a sense of realistic artificiality. Indeed, the adjective 'electric' has connotations of something alive and fiery, with perhaps the irony being here that this 'electric train' is simply a pretence of life. Conversely, the verb 'lighted' has implications that there is a certain warmth - there is even a sense of hope - that this train brings. ...read more.

Middle

Here, the first line is a description of Cornwall, but the second is a metaphor for the first, with the consecutive lines following this same pattern. The descriptions of Harrow and Cornwall are thus paralleled, emphasising only the harshness of the contrast between the two; this longing of the child is hence enlightened. Though the two places are symbolically put together, they still contrast, so there is this sense of unparalleled beauty - this sense of great disparity. Such vivid depictions are, therefore, linked with the feelings that they provoke. These vivid depictions are given greater emphasis to the fact that it is a 'melancholy autumn'. It can thus be inferred that as leaves begin to wither and fall in this season - hence conjuring a sense of lucid, but altogether despondent, imagery - so does life for this boy. ...read more.

Conclusion

The descriptions in the poem are stark in their existence: 'minarets and steeples', 'recalling laurel, shrubs and privet' and 'purple by the sea-breeze made,' with these adjectives representing the great attention that Betjeman pays to detail. Evoked through the repetition of words and phrases in the poem, a sense of hope - of not giving up - is portrayed in the poem. Such, sometimes repetitive, descriptions in Westgate-on-Sea illustrates Betjeman's ambivalent attitude towards children - all of these emotions being provoked by the vivid descriptions that Betjeman paints. In conclusion, the vivid depiction of particular places in Betjeman's poems is indeed linked to the strong feelings that they provoke, but only to a certain extent. His poems are of a realism that is so profound in its stark existence, which does in fact provoke compelling emotions - a thoughtful result of Betjeman's clear acceptance of reality, and his distinct evasion from pretence. Shirwa L6MO ...read more.

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