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Discuss the poets' treatment of the theme of religion in "Church Going" and "In Westminster Abbey".

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Introduction

English Literature Discuss the poets' treatment of the theme of religion in "Church Going" and "In Westminster Abbey". Both poets' John Betjeman and Philip Larkin in their poems "In Westminster Abbey" and "Church Going", treat the theme of religion as a disrespectful ideology which is not worth believing or mentioning, as it has been for centuries the way in which the church controlled the people. Throughout "Westminster Abbey" the description and language used by the poet creates an ironic atmosphere that is the first point to consider that shows that the poet does not see church as a serious matter. The poem is written in the voice of a medium to high classed women who believes to have the right to command god and order him as if it were a servant. ...read more.

Middle

This may have been intentionally included to show that the rich were not only the ones who favored most from the church, but also the most selfish. In "Church Going", the poet expresses the same disrespectfulness towards church as "In Westminster Abbey". The Church, also known as the house of God, is seen by the poet as a current building and all being alike, "another church: matting, seats, and stone..." some brass and stuff" which gives the reader a very dismissive attitude from the poet. He agrees with Betjeman that the church disserves no believe or respect "Hatless, I take off my cycle-clips in awkward reverence". Instead of commenting on the beauty of the church, he looks at the roof asking himself if it is "cleaned, or restored?" It seems that the poet is even more disrespectful than Betjeman donating an Irish sixpence and then further emphasizing, "reflect the place was not worth stopping for". ...read more.

Conclusion

Larkin also sees the church trying to make people see natural things of life such as birth and having children as being in their destiny and that people will always look for the spiritual side. In conclusion, I would say that the poets are conscious of the poetic diction they use in order to bring through their feelings about the church. They do not see any reason or need for which religion and believe exist and want superstition to be gotten rid of. They see the Church as a place, which manipulates people for their own benefit. The use of less poetic devices such as "oh bomb the Germans" in "In Westminster Abbey" or "bored, uniformed, knowing the ghostly silt" in "Church Going" does not suggest that this in any way makes the poems less "poetic" in any sense at all. John Betjeman and Philip Larkin seem to be wanting the readers to be aware of the church and protect them from it. ...read more.

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