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

Authors Avatar by heatherelizamgmailcom (student)

 Compare the ways in which Larkin and Abse write about journeys and visits. In your response you must include detailed critical discussion of at least two of Larkin’s poems.

Whenever Larkin presents journeys or visits throughout The Whitsun Weddings, Larkin or the persona, although Larkin always seems to use his own voice in these poems, are shown to be more interested in the lives of the people he sees or shares the journey with than the scenery, as he continues the poems into fantasizing about their lives and emotions. For example, in The Whitsun Weddings, he begins by just describing the unremarkable sight of a provincial train journey, “the river’s level drifting breadth”, but later begins to make inferences about the guests and their feelings, “the women shared the secret like a happy funeral”, showing his has unintentionally become attached. In contrast, from the beginning of his poems Abse is always shown to be attached, whereas Larkin presents a lonely ‘voyager’ who becomes swept along with others.

Both Here and The Whitsun Weddings describe a lone train journey in which Larkin becomes intrigued about the people around him. At the beginning of both poems, he presents a slight irony of a disenchanted and detached observer simply describing a journey. The difference comes at the introduction of people, as in Here Larkin remains the observer, describing the people in a tone which suggests a degree of separation between them and the persona; “a cut-price crowd”. However, in The Whitsun Weddings he becomes “more curious” and uses the line “we hurried towards London”, rather than the first person used earlier in the poem, “I was late getting away”, which suggests the extent to which he feels he has become the ‘accidental sharer’ in their ceremonies. As previously mentioned, this is one of the few poems in which the persona is very close to Larkin, and also solitary poem in showing Larkin to include himself alongside others, as shown by the increasing use of “we” as the poem progress. From a Marxist point of view, it could be argued that Larkin’s feelings of involvement and sharing come from him seeing himself as one of them, rather than a class above as he often presents, which could suggest the way to save oneself from isolation is to find a sense of community through a classless view.

Join now!

Contrastingly, Abse suggests he was previously entirely immersed within the lives of those around him in his poem “Return to Cardiff”. Interestingly, as Cardiff is Abse’s “hometown”, it could be argued that the journey to leave home separates you from both the place and the people, as when he returns he almost sounds like a visitor in a place he is no longer at ease, “a city of strangers”. This is especially clear in the last line, “hesitated, left double footstep, then walked on”, as he can’t bear to be a visitor in his home. In contrast to Larkin, Abse’s ...

This is a preview of the whole essay