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University Degree: Larkin
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- Peer Reviewed essays 1
Some critics suggest that Larkin portrays human existence as bleak in his poetry - to what extent do you agree with this view in Mr Bleaney?4 star(s)
Mr Bleaney obviously used to work for a car manufacturing company 'the Bodies, till they moved him'. This could either mean that the company moved him elsewhere or that Mr Bleaney is dead. Larkin then begins to describe the surroundings 'Flowered curtains, thin and frayed, Fall to within five inches of the sill'. This shows a lack of comfort and concern with luxury within the home. Alliteration is used to emphasise this point and the stanza is end stopped to slow down the pace of the poem. The second stanza continues to describe Mr Bleaney's backdrop - 'Whose window shows a strip of building land, tussocky, littered'.
- Word count: 1425
The Whitsun Weddings" is Larkin's longest poem and describes the protagonists long, leisurely train journey from Hull to London. Larkin wanted the poem "to construct a verbal device that would preserve an experience
Larkin uses the rhythm in the poem to capture the speed of the train. The poem opens with precise details delivered in short, exact words which are often only one syllable long and involving a "t" sound. "One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday did my three- quarters empty train pull out." The repetition of the "t" sound forces the reader to recite Reg No. 546692 EN1021, Reading Literature the opening slowly. As Larkin escapes from the town his words become longer and the description more elaborate, "Wide farms went by/short shadowed cattle, and/Canals with floatings of industrial froth."
- Word count: 1359
An interviewer once remarked to Larkin that" Your favourite subjects are failure and weakness" How far do you agree that failure and weakness are favourite subjects in the 'Whitsun weddings'.
This describes Mr bleaney's room but can also refer to Mr Bleaney's coffin. Larkin goes on to describe the room, 'Flowered curtains, thin and frayed'. The curtains seem to become Mr Bleaney himself. The overall sense of chilliness and dreariness which comes from the room extends to Mr Bleaney himself, whom we imagine to be thin, shivering and isolated, with little protection from the outside world and the "frigid wind" which better fitting curtains might have provided. This lack of protection shows the failure in Mr Bleaney's life. Larkin goes on to talk about Mr Bleaney's 'strip of building land'.
- Word count: 839
In the first line there are repetitive determiners with the word use of 'me' three times. 'I leave me people, me land, me home' V1 Line 1 Also in this line the writer uses a repetition of nouns with no pre or post modifiers. This could be because the writer is generalising her whole life, and the world she knows rather than saying her family and friends. Also it must be taken into account of the fact this is a Caribbean poem and family and friends could be more thought to come from a European writer and would distort the
- Word count: 1418
By referring to at least two poems, discuss by what means Larkin illustrates the disparity between reality and illusion in his poems.
The opening stanzas of both present us with these unattainable images of 'how life should be.' The attractions of 'Sunny' Prestatyn; the girl on the poster, "Glad in tautened white satin," dominates as the coastline and hotel behind her, "...expand from her thighs." Larkin's clever use of rhyme and rhythm suggests a feeling of excitement as the familiar sarcastic tone of Larkin increases this excitement. Larkin, as a provincial urban person, is likely to take a holiday by the sea.
- Word count: 1192
Firstly, the opening is very casual, similar to other poems such as "A Jose Maria Palacios" and "Retrato". The fact that the narrator is climbing a hill is evidence of Machado's use of "caminos" in many of his poems. The use of the first person singular "Yo" gives the poem an informal opening. The extensive description of his exhausted body as he climbs takes the focus away from the scenery he is about to describe and emphasizes his solitude since he is concentrating on himself alone.
- Word count: 1821
He used plain speech to address his readers and the themes that run throughout the collection concern themselves with references to the past and future and to the generation gap that existed between Larkin, as a middle-aged man and the younger generation that he observes around him. In the poem "High Windows" he begins by examining the sexual freedoms of the younger generation and compares it with his own lack of opportunity. For Larkin the young have been granted "paradise" by the advances in contraception that was developed in the 1960's.
- Word count: 797
His life is empty, lonely and predictable. The poem's simple 'AB' rhyming scheme also emphasises the predictable, routine and limited life of Mr Bleaney, hence a life with only one pattern. Through the eyes of the narrator Mr Bleaney appears to have separated himself from the wider world, staying true to what is familiar, hence spending 'Christmas at his sister's house in Stoke', a line that has been quoted as the saddest line in the history of English poetry3. He even seems separated from himself, hence his first name is never mentioned.
- Word count: 1398
With reference to "The Telephone Call" and "Telephone Conversation" discuss and compare the effectiveness of the poet's choice of form, style and use of poetic techniques in order to convey their messages.
This is clearly shown with the comical line of "You mean - like plain or milk chocolate?" When reading this for the first time, we are amused by this comparison; however, working on a different level, we can appreciate the critical sarcasm that Soyinka conveys towards the ignorance of the white landlady. Soyinka's humorous sarcasm is also seen when the man says "West African sepia" and "Down in my passport." The landlady is then described as having a "Silence for spectroscopic flight of fancy". This is quite critical and mocking the landlady because we realize that she tries to imagine what color "West African sepia" is, without realizing the sarcasm of the man's words.
- Word count: 901
Larkin's cynicism corrupts perceptions of glory and success as anything achieved is immediately mocked and attacked. As advancement and progression take place in the surroundings through modernisation Larkin points out the negativity and destruction of this development. In 'Going Going' the "bleak high-rises" and "split level shopping" devastates to the world the poetic voice previously lived in, where he thought in hope "there would always be fields and farms". Instead the simple realisation is that the "first slum of Europe" will appear "and that will be England gone".
- Word count: 1348
Was he that withdrawn..." (Larkin page 152 Dockery and Son) This quote shows the awe that Larkin shows at this point in time. The poem was written in a sad mood as it is a remembrance poem. He then continues the poem in much the same way showing his point of view and talking about a popular concept for him, life. "Life is first boredom, then fear. Whether or not we use it, it goes....." (Larkin page 153 Dockery and Son) Life is a matter that Larkin talks about a lot of the time.
- Word count: 1001