Monday, June 3, 2019
Maiden Name Philip Larkin Analysis
Maiden Name Philip Larkin AnalysisIn a chemise diary note, Philip Larkin stated At 1.45 am let me remember that the only married state I know (i.e. that of my parents) is bloody hell. Never must it be forgotten. Larkin expresses a loss of be stayfs and judgementls in spousal prominently in The Whitsun Weddings (TWW) and The Less Deceived (TLD) by examining the musical themes that married dyad signifies imprisonment and leads to a loss of identity, as well as that all marriages are banal and similar. However, there are notions of the idea that perchance not all is lost, and this is summed up best in Larkins famous words from An Arundel Tomb, What allow survive of us is love. Whether these words really mean what they say is debatable either the romantic idea that love triumphs shoemakers last or the realistic opinion that the couple in the meter had not actually intended to be eternally faithful to from each one other. Nevertheless, it is clear that Larkin holds a certain disbelief regarding the conception of a happy marriage through his observations of ordinary people, his use of regular structure and the straightforwardness of his writing.Philip Larkin seems to have shared Russells views, as he rejected the idea of marriage and committed himself to bachelorhood, as he says, I see life more as an affair of solitude diversified by company than as an affair of company diversified by solitude (Hirsch, p.114). According to Edward Hirsch, Larkin never recovered from his parents cramped, loveless marriage, a bloody hell he vowed never to adopt (p.118). His parents marriage besides led him to believe that Two can live as stupidly as one. Larkin enjoyed several sexual relationships without ever getting married, presentation that he clearly did not agree with public constitutions in the 1950s and 60s, but was more representative of the ideas of independence and freedom of choice of the common man.TWW was create in 1964, and brought Larkin a remarkable measure of popular esteem (Swarbrick, p.5). In this anthology, Larkin explores the various forms that love can take and what it meant to him. Andrew Swarbrick explains that love and death remain at the centre of TWW (p.92). This consolidates the overall theme existing in most of his poems loss and death. However, Larkins biographer, Andrew Motion, chose to look at it from a different augur of view Reading his poems in chronological sequence, it is clear that his obsession with death is inextricable from his fascination with love and marriage. (Hirsch, p.120) This suggests that Larkins constant fixation with death in TWW and TLD, published in 1955, is actually incensed by an interest in the inner workings of marriage. Hirsch clarifies, What Motion calls fascination is more accurately described as fascinated revulsion. (p.120)Even though Larkin make no secret of his aversion towards marriage (he thought of it as a revolting institution), he actually presents a diverse range of fee lings towards marriage in his poems. Love Songs in Age explores how an older woman feels or so love, or the loss of love, when she recovers her faded sheet music that had vanished in the daily frenzy of marriage and family. Only once she enters widowhood is she given a chance to pause and reminisce about her youthful feelings about love, that hidden freshness. Motion identifies the widow in the poem as Larkins mother (Swarbrick, p.108). In Stanza 2, Larkin seems to adopt a tone of optimism, expressing the vivacity of youthful energy with the use of the simile, spread out like a spring-woken tree, implying that the widow had move from the winter to the spring of her life, if only for that moment when she plays her love songs. This optimism seems to carry on to the next stanza, where Larkin describes love as that much-mentioned brilliance. This description of love seems to contradict Larkins pessimistic views on love, and complies with societys stodgy views that love is brilliant.H owever, the use of the word glare downplays the bright incipience of love, as it suggests that the brilliance of love is too much to bear, and therefore impossible. The poem thereof ends on a negative note, where the lady in the poem realises that love has not managed to deliver its promises to solve, and satisfy, as she is left alone afterwards her husbands death, and has to admit lamely that love had not done so then, and could not now, announcering to loves failure to last or to deliver. This poem therefore contradicts the feelings of some individuals, such as G.M. Carstairs, who in 1962, argued that fresh people are rapidly making marriage itself more mutually considerate and satisfying through premarital sex. (Lewis, p.259) Love Songs in Age dissipates the idea that marriage is mutually considerate, by looking at a marriage that ended too early and left one party alone and in tears, dispelling the fairytale conception of happily ever after.Even though TLD was published 9 ye ars earlier than TWW, Larkin shows an early awareness of the reality of marriage, and the negative aspects it entails, suggesting that marriage causes a loss of identity in Maiden Name. This poem is about a womans role in getting married and is written in indorse person, such as in since you were so thankfully confused. This makes the reader feel drawn into the text, as if the persona is speaking directly to him/her, soaringlighted by the use of imperatives campaign whispering it slowly. The poem was written about Winifred Arnott, with whom Larkin had a brief relationship. This relationship ended when she left for London and became engaged in 1954, which lends to the personas tone of betrayal in this poem, such as in since youre past and gone, implying that Arnotts marriage caused her old self to disappear. The persona insists that the five light sounds of her maiden cry no longer mover your face,/Your component, and all your variants of grace. It is unusual that a name shoul d mean a face and a voice, rather than the person herself, and Larkin might do this in order to point out the different aspects of a person that a name can recall. In its regular rhyme scheme (a,b,b,a,c,c,a) and structure, this poem seems like a conventional love poem, according to societys ideas. This is highlighted in the intimate tone of Try whispering it slowly.Just like the hidden song sheets in Love Songs in Age, the womans name in Maiden Name has been abandoned in old things, eliciting a rhetorical question from the persona Then is it scentless, weightless, strengthless wholly/Untruthful? The tone of voice here seems uncertain and the repetition of -less implies that the woman has been diminished after marrying. The persona is adamant that the woman has lost a part of herself after marrying, as he gushes, How beautiful you were, and near, and young, /So vivid, suggesting that she does not have as much of these qualities anymore. This poem therefore argues that marriage leads to the depreciating of a womans identity and beauty with the extra baggage that comes with marriage, referring to the husband. In doing so, Larkin discourages women from getting married and expresses his loss of beliefs in marriage. Nowadays, an increasing number of women are overcoming the problem of losing ones identity when getting married by simply tutelage their maiden name and pairing it with their husbands name.The Larkin that is present in TLD seems more sentimental as compared to in TWW, where he is more discerning to the realities of relationships. Talking in sleep with is about the gap between expectation and reality. The tone of the poem is set in the first line, where Talking in bed ought to be easiest, the word ought suggesting indecision and untruth. It suggests that there is no honesty in all relationships even at its most intimate. This is emphasized by the pun on the word Lying, in that the couple is lying next to each other as well as lying to each other. Larki n uses an extended metaphor to compare the relationship in the poem to the disturbing weather outside the winds uncomplete unrest. Larkin therefore exposes the turmoil of marriage and forces the reader to reconsider whether marriage actually results in security and comfort, or if it causes incomplete unrest. Jane Lewis essay explains that public institutions in the 1960s attempted to refute the idea that marriages are insecure by setting up marriage counsellors and stressed the greatness of a personally grounded morality for a happy marriage.Larkin has a specific style throughout all his poems. Most of them follow a rigid structure, where each stanza has a fixed number of lines. For example, Talking in Bed consists of four tercets, which give the appearance of security and regularity. The structure of the poem thereby belies its content of uncertainty. This is as well as evident in the regular structure of The Whitsun Weddings, where there are 8 stanzas of 10 lines each, which a lso gives the impression that all marriages are standard.The title poem of TWW is perhaps one of Larkins most famous. The Whitsun Weddings describes a set up ride Larkin took from Hull to London, and in a frail/travelling coincidence ends up on the same t fall all the newlyweds also take on Whitsun Day. The Whitsun Day celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit as described in Acts, Chapter 2, (Leach) and falls 50 days after Easter Sunday. It is financially advantageous for couples to be married for taxation reasons on this day, and as Larkin decided to write about Whitsun Day, he implies that marriage is cheap. Larkin uses vivid mental imagery (sound, sight, smell and touch) and a colloquial tone (We ran/Behind the backs of houses) to portray the English countryside through the windows of the train carriage. The images appear like snapshots, giving the reader a intellect of immediacyWide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, andCanals with floatings of industrial frothA hothouse f lashed uniquely hedges dippedAnd rose and now and then a smell of grass(14-18)This serves as an introduction that builds up to the fourth stanza, where the persona finally notices the fanfare and excitement surrounding the train, where the wedding-days/Were coming to an end. Larkin describes the newlyweds as fresh, implying that they ordain not last long. He also mentions the secret like a happy funeral, an oxymoron suggesting that marriage is joyful, but also signifies the end of freedom for the couple. Another bold figure of speech Larkin uses is the religious wounding, which could refer to the sexual anticipation of losing the brides virginity that their friends feel or the fact that the religious act of marriage is painful. Lewis clarifies Marriage as a public institution had traditionally been support by a rigid code of Christian sexual morality. An interesting note about this poem is that Larkin does not mention where the train stops, and this suggests that marriage has no di rection, and is therefore uncertain.In Stanza 7, Larkin shows how all marriages are the same in that their lives would all contain this hour, dissipating any notions that each wedding is unique. On the other hand, Larkin is inevitably caught up with the couples as We hurried towards London. He seems to be immersed in the excitement of the Whitsun Weddings, seeing himself as part of them. The image of something as dangerous as an arrow-shower changing into groom rain gives a sense of rebirth and rejuvenation. However, only somewhere does it become rain, which could mean that the arrow-shower is heretofore lethal in other places. It could also signify the required breakdown of marriage, as the arrows descend and rain could mean mould and cause floods. Martin Amis elaborates that, to Larkin, Hull was as dull as rain. Rain was what Larkin matt-up marriages turned into, rain was what love and desire eventually become. (http//ghrendhel.tripod.com/textos/amispolitical.htm) This highligh ts Larkins belief that all marriages are banal and dull.Where Larkin looks at multiple simultaneous weddings in The Whitsun Weddings, he focuses on a specific wedding in The Wedding-Wind, published in TLD and completed in 1946. This poem explores the feelings of a farmers bride a day after her wedding. She is evidently delighted, seen as my wedding-night was the night of the high wind, the strong wind suggesting passion. However, the wind could also symbolise unrest, just like in Talking in Bed. However, the image in the final line, Our kneeling as cattle by all-generous waters, depicts the womans appreciation for being married. It echoes the feelings of most women after they marry, believing that they are on the path to completing their purpose in life. Marriage focal point advocates in the 1960s concurred that womens needs were above all for traditional marital relationships. (Lewis, p.235)Although The Wedding-Wind expresses the womans ecstatic mood, Andrew Swarbrick believes tha t there is beyond her a lurking sense of threat. This is evident when the bride is abandoned for a while on her wedding-night, leaving her stupid in candlelight. It is interesting as well to note that the husband is mostly absent from the poem, leaving the bride to stare. This implies that women are unattended in marriage. The three questions that end the poem suggest uncertainty, and expose her vulnerability (Swarbrick, p.45). Larkin thereby conveys the ambiguous feelings of the woman, leaving the reader unsure as to whether marriage brings gaiety or loneliness.The final poem in TWW is An Arundel Tomb, which discusses the fate of marriage and love after death. It describes the tomb of the Earl and Countess of Arundel at Chichester Cathedral that Larkin had visited. The gentleness with which Larkin describes, One sees, with a strident tender shock, /His hand withdrawn, holding her hand, shows the pleasant surprise he felt to see everlasting love set in stone. However, this is dis missed with the next line, They would not think to lie so long, which suggests that the couple had not expected to be next to each other for so long, and the pun on the word lie in that they lie next to each other, and also lie to the world that they are in love just like in Talking in Bed, implies that such faithfulness in effigy is actually just a fabrication. The final stanza confirms this, as Time has transfigured them into/Untruth. As mentioned before, this poem (and thus the entire anthology) ends with What will survive of us is love. Yet this has been taken out of context, so the previous one and a half lines have to be looked at2544 Wordsand to splayOur almost-instinct almost trueWhat will survive of us is love.(40-42)The repetition of almost gives a sense of being so close to the truth, but not actually reaching it and therefore the last line is thrown into a different perspective. Our almost-instinct seems to be our need to believe in everlasting love after death but si nce it is only almost true and not entirely true, the last line is one that the persona wants to be true, but is not necessarily so. Therefore, Larkin still expresses a loss of beliefs in love and marriage. He commented on An Arundel Tomb, a rather romantic poem I dont like it much, which confirms his dislike for the romantic ideas about marriage the poem imparts. As he chose to end the anthology with this poem, it makes it all the more significant that Love isnt stronger than death just because statues hold hands for 600 years, which is what Larkin wrote on the multiple sclerosis draft (Swarbrick, p.114).Even through Larkins evident distaste for marriage, his literary executor, Anthony Thwaite, claims that, The fact that he has never married and has no children doesnt entail ignorance of, or contempt for, the institution or its usual result. Larkin rearticulates Ive remained single by choice, and shouldnt have liked anything else. Public institutions from 1920-1968 tried to appeal to the biologically determined needs of women for traditional marital relationships (Lewis, p.262) by publicising marriage guidance. Through the fact that they needed to do this, it can be inferred that there were rising divorce rates or fewer marriages in the 1960s, screening that Larkin was part of, and his poetry appealed to, a growing group of people who were unmarried. For the rest of society, Larkins poetry was a basis for reconsidering the purpose and effect of marriage.Larkins most effective technique, arguably, of word-painting his messaging is his use of the casual, colloquial tone paired with enjambement that imitates daily speech, which is easily understandable and allows him to connect with people from different walks of life. Thus, it is easy for the reader to squeeze Larkins views about marriage and his poems make the reader reconsider what marriage actually constitutes. Is it imprisonment, a happy funeral, an almost-instinct or is it a loss of identity? Regardless of the answer, Philip Larkin efficaciously conveys his message through the use of regular rhythm, rigid structure, enjambement, imagery and observations of ordinary people. Since Larkin never married, most of his poems are a generalisation of marriages that he observed and felt what marriage was like. Thus, we cannot whole-heartedly agree with all his views. As Larkin chose the path of bachelorhood, he probably used poetry as a replacement for marriage.