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How does Betchman portray the weakness of English Middle Classes in Westminster Abbey

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How does Betchman portray the weakness of English Middle Classes in Westminster Abbey? In the poem 'In Westminster Abbey' the poet (John Betchman) speaks in from the view of a lady living in the English middle classes in the period, in which the Second World War took place. The poet has set the poem in the head of the heart of England's church, Westminster Abbey. The poet narrates to the reads the feelings of this lady and her feelings of the war, but what the poet does in mainly stereotype all women in the English middle classes at the time. In the following I shall talk about how poet portrays the weakness of the English middle classes. The poem starts of with the lady talking to god and continues through out with this lady talking to god. The poet sustains a continues rhythm through out with a regular four beats in each line, for example 'LET me TAKE this OTHER glove OFF' , this technique retains the readers interest in the poem since the this technique has been used consistently through out the poem. ...read more.


The reader is made to feel that this woman is selfish when she asks her lord to commit murder of thousands of people, and yet let nothing bad happen to her 'Don't let anyone bomb me'. The poet also makes aware to the reader that she is aware that her 'Lord' would be against the idea of committing murder, this is made clear to the reader when she is ingratiating to her 'Lord' which I have underlined, by addressing God as 'gracious Lord', this an example shown to the reader by the poet of her status compared to God, just like a pupil ingratiating towards a teacher, to persuade a teacher to be more lenient in marking, grading or even writing reports and therefore making a more positive influence in these examples. In the poems case the lady is ingratiating to her 'Lord' to persuade him to commit something that she knows that God is against. The poet also brings to the attention of the reader, of this lady's ironic attitude in the way in which she speaks, this I have highlighted in my quotes of the first and second stanza, when she say in the second stanza to 'spare ...read more.


the borough of Chelsea is still considered a posh area and is home to England's if not the world's most expensive shop (Harrods). Notice I said world's, I say this because of what is now known as Britain used to be known as Great Britain due to the British Empire, this I think the poet also narrates this fact in the third stanza; 'Keep our Empire undismembered Guide our forces by Thy Hand,' Here the lady is asking God keep the Empire united and to guide them to victory. In conclusion the poet portrays a major weakness of the English middle classes in the poem 'In Westminster Abbey', although they were wealthy, well educated for the time's standards and considered as of a superior status than others. One is led to believe that they lacked the understanding and wisdom that people generally have today, also they were selfish and ironic which have learnt from lines like 'Don't let anyone bomb me' and 'If that is not too easy'. I have made these statements from the assumption that the reader is led to believe that this poem is a stereotype and a generalized view or opinion of the English middle classes. ...read more.

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