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

Larkin has been criticised for a lack of sympathy in his poetry. Based on your reading of the Whitsun Weddings collection of poems, how fair is this criticism.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Larkin has been criticised for a lack of sympathy in his poetry. Based on your reading of the Whitsun Weddings collection of poems, how fair is this criticism. Philip Larkin's poetry is well known for its portrayal of his own views on relationship issues such as marriage, women and sex that has frequently caused controversy in all social classes both then and now. Most people in particular women don't like his sexist male views favouring the stereotypically 'beautiful' women to intellectual women purely because of their sexual attractiveness and voicing that a women's role is with 'an estateful of washing'. From his views, people would have criticised his poetry for having a lack of sympathy because he discriminates the female sex so coldly. I believe that in contrast to other people's views, he is indeed sympathetic, in the way that he sympathises with women because they were unfortunate enough to be of the female sex. This must seem an obscure way of analysing his thoughts but in some of Larkin's poems, we can see that he sympathises with women for being female, with men for being with women and also with himself for not matching up to his own expectations. ...read more.

Middle

He proves he doesn't believe in himself through the fact that he ended up dating the 'friend' who he didn't find as attractive as the other 'bosomy rose'. Like the previous two poems, 'Faith Healing' could be thought of as also being about himself in the way that they were about his way of thinking and the way he acts or his relationships. Even though this poem is seemingly about women, we are able to notice a rather jealous tone when Larkin speaks about how 'women file' up like a flock of 'sheep' and will follow whatever is said to them using in this case a religious speaker. Larkin describes the speaker as being Godly; 'rimless glasses, silver hair, dark suit, white collar' being able to 'persuade' women to do whatever he wants them to do, believe whatever he wants them to believe. One may think that this is another mention of his fantasies; being able to tell women what to do yet i feel the poem does in-fact have a sympathetic tone to it. Either sympathetic towards the women not being able to think for themselves, even though he is rather patronising towards them by using animalistic terms such as 'hoarse tears', 'thick tongues and 'sheepishly stray' or towards himself for not being the person who he wants to be. ...read more.

Conclusion

From this selection of poems, i personally have identified sympathy in all the poems i have looked at. I feel that sympathy towards yourself can still count as being sympathetic and i honestly feel that Larkin often was not happy with himself in the ways he felt inadequate and not able to be someone he wishes he would be. 'Afternoons' showed the most sympathy and unusually towards women which was very rare for him to look at a woman's point of view. Still it proves he can still sympathise with women if he actually thinks about them and their views. In his other poems he usually only concentrates of himself which might cause readers to think that he isn't being sympathetic but why would you need to talk about other people in your own poetry? He would not have thought of a target audience that a novelist would. He usually does talk about himself but as proven in 'Afternoons', when he does choose to think away from his point of view Larkin does show a sympathetic side backed up with an even more surprising saddened tone. This showing that even a stubborn man such as Larkin can still identify with other people in a sympathetic manor. Georgina Sims ...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 Philip Larkin section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

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 Philip Larkin essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    'A Study of Reading Habits' by Philip Larkin Critical Essay

    3 star(s)

    This stanza also shows us more about how this character interacts with others. 'The women I clubbed with sex! I broke them up like meringues' Here the persona relates to the main character of the books he reads and now imagines himself being a kind of romantic figure who is attractive to the opposite sex.

  2. Examine Philip Larkin’s view of love and relationships expressed in his poems in The ...

    Larkin thought 'they would not think to lie so long,' here Larkin begins to show his view of love: it is fragile, and should not have endured time. There may be a pun on the word 'lie,' it may also indicate the fact that they have been conveying the wrong message all this time.

  1. Choose two poems in which Larkin explores places, Discuss his use of language, form ...

    Leaving words such as "Like a stable " and "not unworkable" to rhyme. All the unusual features of Irish life, Claim Larkin "prove" that he is "separate". However, using a double negative deems them "not unworkable". In the final stanza, Larkin recognises the "customs" and "establishments" of English life and declares that these would be "much more serious to refuse".

  2. To what extent is "Essential Beauty" characteristic of the collection as a whole?

    This can be seen in "Talking in bed". Here, Larkin uses emphasis on the word "ought" in the quote; "talking in bed ought to be easiest", to portray the feeling of his unhappiness within a relationship. The use of "Slums" saddens the mood of the poem, as so far the description has been observational.

  1. Comparison Between Wild Oats and Broadcast

    This means that this concert was probably staged at The Royal Albert Hall because in the late nineteen sixties, early nineteen seventies The Royal Albert Hall was the only large hall, which had a stage looking over the audience. "...And organ frowned-on spaces."

  2. What interests you about Larkin's use of language and verse form in three of ...

    At the beginning of the second stanza the reader's flow is stopped by a colon at the end of the first line. The colon could be representative of metaphorical eyes looking around and scouring what can be seen in Hull.

  1. My transformation of Philip Larkin's first-person adult poem, 'Mr Bleaney' into a third and ...

    to an uninterested world that he was alone, dropped onto the brass door handle, which took him into a happy, mocking world' I edited the lines "Mr Bleaney took my bit of garden properly in hand" and "The jabbering set he egged her on to buy" as they contradict the

  2. "Afternoons" by Philip Larkin analysis.

    It also could symbolise how they have became ?thick-skinned.? These mothers have just learned to carry on with life as they know nothing will change the dull lives they possess.

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