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

By analysing precisely the content and style 'The Whitsun Weddings', consider how far you would agree with the notion that Larkin believes marriage offers happiness.

Extracts from this document...


By analysing precisely the content and style 'The Whitsun Weddings', consider how far you would agree with the notion that Larkin believes marriage offers happiness. 'The Whitsun Weddings' is from the collection with the same title by Larkin. The poem is told by a persona who is on a train which is driving trough many stations where wedding parties can be seen seeing off the bride and groom as the go on their honeymoon. The poem was the result of a train journey which Larkin made on Whit Saturday in 1955. The poem is not only about weddings but also new beginnings to journeys in life. The poem is entitled 'The Whitsun Weddings' because as we are told in the opening line the date is Whitsun. This is the seventh Sunday after Easter also known as Pentecost. It is the day in the Christian calendar when the disciples were visited by the Holy Spirit in the form of flames. From this day on they went out to spread the word of Jesus and it has been called the birthday of the Christian Church. ...read more.


Other characters include the fathers with "seamy foreheads;" and "mothers loud and fat;" and "an uncle shouting s**t." The persona is very observant and manages to take in a brief detail about everyone their. It also appears all the weddings seem to have a common look to them. To this he notes the cheap and tawdry dress that marks off "the girls unreally from the rest." The clothing they all wear is that of working class folk and is cheap but made to look expensive; "jewellery substitutes". Larkin seems very intrigued by the clothing the people are all wearing. Yet rather than adopt a sceptical view of these weddings, the persona finds in them a declaration. He muses that for the fathers weddings are "huge and wholly farcical." While the women share "the secret like a happy funeral." The girls from stanza three, presumably brides-maids, are removed from their earthly setting, the station platform, and placed "out on the end of an event" saying good-bye not to their newly married friends but to "something that survived" the event. ...read more.


The poem ends with a visionary moment; "We slowed again, And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain." The poem is ironic because it ends with a beginning. It seems incomplete. The shower of arrows mentioned could represent Cupid's arrows which would show Larkin believes you can be struck by love. It is possible he wishes he had been struck by one of Cupid's arrows. The poem also finishes with the end of the journey for the train as they arrive at their destination. Larkin believes that marriage does bring happiness in some respect as long as the person you marry you truly love. He also seems to have a view that marriage can be a big show and maybe fake in some cases. It is not possible to completely determine Larkin's view on marriage because he does not expressly give it. He was not a Christian but he did write a few religious poems like 'Water' which is a view on making his own religion and 'church Going'. This is significant because he is talking about a Christian holiday. Louise Rudd English - Larkin March 2004 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level 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 AS and A Level Philip Larkin essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    An 'A' Level candidate described Larkin as a "grumpy, old, git". Based on High ...

    3 star(s)

    a shadow over the poem, symbolic of the shadows of Larkin's misspent youth now clouding his memories and thoughts.

  2. To what extent, in terms of subject matter and style, do you consider 'High ...

    In High Windows, the line 'Rather than words comes the thought of high windows' is one of the most memorable. Similarly, The Explosion has the image of the 'eggs unbroken', and Money's entire last verse is occupied by the image of 'looking down from long french windows...'.

  1. How far do you agree that 'To the sea' conveys a sense of disappointment?

    he uses repetition to emphasise the continuous pattern of the activities at the beach. The exclamation mark shows his amazement that things are so similar. The theme of the continuous goings on is clear later on in the verse when he says "to lie, eat, sleep" Larkin uses a list-like

  2. Larkin - Consider

    he feels are below him, yet he knows it and them extremely. He knows about the contrast between its "domes and statues" and "grain scattered streets", as he knows the people there, he describes their movements as "stealing" suggesting stealth and sleaze as they move towards the supermarkets, swinging doors to their "desires", emphasising that the desires are theirs.

  1. Philip Larkin's Church Going.

    Larkin shows the irony of these words as "the echoes snigger briefly" is linked to the title of the poem, through which there is a sense of the gradual disappearance of the church, and its irrelevance in modern life and the contemporary society.

  2. How far do you agree that Larkin's poems are too depressing to be effective?

    In this poem Larkin is talking about a topic, which most people reading his poem would most definitely be able to identify with - reading. It is quite a lighthearted poem and this is due to the fact that Larkin is talking about the "familiar" storylines of the novels he

  1. Compare the ways in which Larkin and Abse write about journeys and visits.

    with unwanted realisations, such as he has over the idea of Dockery, which from a psychoanalytic point of view could suggest why he makes so few visits, especially home. It is clear from Abse?s poetry that he is also aware of the reality that journeys can bring, as in Down

  2. Here, Whitsun Weddings and Dockery and Son are all poems written by Larkin that ...

    A journey towards isolation is similarly discussed in ?Dockery and Son?. The train journey in this poem is significant as it not only echoes a stream of consciousness and a mental journey, but reflects Larkin?s overarching point; happiness is transitory, only death is inevitable, and isolation therefore has as much worth as a family and company.

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