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analysis of the poem

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Introduction

CHURCH GOING In the poem " Church going" Philip Larkin indicates his views on religion, the value of the church and its future in an increasingly secular age through describing a biker's encounter with a church he often passes.Larkin shows the meaning of christianity and its place in society by contrasting its physical and spiritual aspects. The confusion of the biker and his ambivalent attitude towards religious faith and the institution of the organized religion reflect the whole society. Eventhough the speaker feels a "gravitating" pull to the churches, he is not sure of its power to explain life. He questions the sincerety of those,the church-goers, who are trying to explain the meaning of life. He tries to understand the reason that lies under their attempt to create such a space which is merely physical. He tries to understand the purpose of religion. The first ambivalence is reflected within the title of the poem "Church going". The title might have a double meaning. It might imply that the churches are going out of use or it might also only mean church going. ...read more.

Middle

The persona's confusion can be seen when he drops the "the Irish sixpence" in the box. He continues his habit, while he also mocks the church by contributing what is essentially nothing but a worthless piece of metal.Larkin uses irony to depict how the persona's manner at the church has been drilled into his head when he was a child. The reason why the persona is conflicted is because the persona grew up under certain ideals and no matter if his views have changed, he cannot break his habits . "Reflect the place was not worth stopping for. Yet stop I did: in fact I often do." Shows that he is hopeful. Not only he has stopped this time but he often stops at churches. He is searching for something but yet he doesnt't know what he is searching for. " When churches fall completely out of use" in Larkin's opinion its only a matter of time until churches fall. Using "when" instead of "if" makes us think that the case is inevitable in Larkin's view. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus, the people are more important than the church structure itself. The church now stands as a depiction of a past spiritual people. He admires that. As a matter of fact even though he is not sure exactly what this "frowsty barn" worths. It still pleases him to stand there. In the last stanza, the persona feels that there is something special about the church something greater than the decorations,something on the spiritual level. It's a serious house despite the fun-poking of donating only an irish sixpence, sniggering echoes and even though the place was originally thought not worth stopping for. " A hunger in himself to be more serious, and gravitating with it to this ground." Means something more serious, something on spiritual level will draw humans to these places. The speaker values the church for what it used to be "which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in. If only that so many dead lie around." In a way Larkin is saying that spiritual yearnings dont die out and yet past weighs heavily on the present. Therefore churches in a way according to Larkin will keep their significance in the future due to the past. Zeynep Hatipoglu ...read more.

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