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    Important element in love Essay

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    Like ‘An Arundel Tomb,’ ‘The Whitsun Weddings’ was a personal experience of Larkin. Like the previous poem, it is long, and incorporates the passage of time. On the other hand, it does not focus on love. The main theme is marriage and relationships. Larkin provides his views on weddings (which is a symbol of love) as an isolated observer. The first two stanza bears little importance in this essay. However it engages the reader by appealing to our sense: the feel of the ‘hot cushions,’ the sight of ‘blinding cars’ and the smell of the ‘fish-dock.’ Larkin also used informal and colloquial language, this helps the reader to understand. As ‘all sense / Of being in a hurry gone’ in this ‘sunlit’ day; a warm and relaxing atmosphere is created. But the train is also traveling through time, and as with other Larkin poems, this means change.

    Before stanza three, Larkin ‘didn’t notice’ the weddings, this shows that weddings, to Larkin, is insignificant and does not attract him, despite the ‘noise.’ The fact that thought it was porters shows his unfamiliarity with weddings; hence he is unmarried and maybe has never been in a serious relationship. At last the ‘grinning and pomaded, girls / In parodies of fashion’ caught the poet’s eye. Larkin mocks them for being stupid (the word ‘grinning’ often associated with stupidity) and having cheap imitations of clothing. Larkin was ‘struck,’ when he learns the girls have ‘survived’ the wedding. Larkin thinks marriage is full of obstacles and he is surprised.

    Each wedding Larkin see them in ‘different terms”, this suggest that although details are different, they are essentially the same; which indicates a similar ending to these relationships. We shall see at the end, Larkin’s negative view on marriage. In the fourth stanza, Larkin describes a wedding of a working class couple. This time he describes the older generations as well, but still mocking then and pointing out the negative aspects: fathers with ‘seamy forehands’ and mothers ‘loud and fat.’ Although this provides humor, it is conveying a downbeat tone. Perhaps Larkin only sees this side to weddings. The description also reflects his view of their social class. Larkin’s attention is again drawn to the girls with ‘nylon gloves’ and ‘jewellery-substitutes,’ implying artificiality: Larkin thinks marriage is a fake; it is not as symbolic as it seems. It doesn’t mean anything.

    The main purpose of stanza 5 is to hint the reader that the wedding has ended. The young couples have ‘moved’ into a new stage in their life. At the end of the stanza and the first part of the next one; Larkin shows how different people ‘define’ this wedding. However, Larkin is speaking for them, so essentially it is his own view. The children found it ‘dull,’ fathers thought it was ‘wholly farcical,’ implying an mocking and dismissive attitude. Larkin unrecognized traditional view of marriage: an event full of joy. It is a ‘success’ people look forward to. However Larkin doesn’t agree, because it is ‘farcical.’

    The mothers ‘shared / The secret like a happy funeral.’ They have described the even paradoxically: how can a funeral be happy? Larkin uses the odd juxtaposition to suggest the conflicting emotions, which marriage inspires-both joyful and representing a loss. It acts as a hint, to warn the couples of what lies before them; there may be problems. One of the losses could the sexual virginity, implied by ‘religious wounding.’ The experience of sex maybe painful for them. It may also refer to painful times, which will inevitably occur in their married life. Again this shows Larkin’s cynical view. A major theme is time, therefore it also implies passage of time brings loss. Despite the dim views, Larkin does acknowledge the excitement of the anxious girls.

    As the train ‘hurried towards London,’ so does the lives of the couples. They are ‘free at last,’ to departure into a new journey. The perspective changes from third to first person to first when we move to stanza seven. Phrases such as ‘side by side’ and ‘their lives’ emphasize the isolation of Larkin.’ Larkin suggest the idea of randomness of life and love, on this ‘frail / Traveling coincidence.’ The final stanza is important, as the imagery and meaning contrasts to that of the beginning. ‘A sense of falling’ gives a impression of failure. It may be predicting the couples falling out of love as time passes. Although they were victims of Cupids arrows, there is implication that they become an ‘arrow-shower’-like cold rain (symbolizing unhappiness and sorrow). The poem has developed from a ‘sunlit’ to ‘rain.’ This is parallel to Larkin’s view of love: ultimately, it will fail.

    I think the poem is more effective in terms of expressing Larkin’s views. He has focus on weddings rather than the ambiguous idea of love. This is a satire poem, the humor engages the reader and language is familiar. His views are clearly seen. Although it is the longest poem, it functions as a metaphor for itself. It re-enacts a sense of the long, leisurely train journey from Hull to London ‘Love Songs in Ages’ focuses on the failure of love. Unlike previous poems, it is not a personal experience: it is only an account. Therefore, one cannot see the development of ideas. Each stanza has its function. The main theme is importance of love and ideal/reality. However the two is linked: Larkin explores an ideal view of love, and that expressed by reality. Love is represented by old records.

    The first stanza looks at the significance of love, which is minute, as ‘they took so little space.’ This suggests love did not play a big part of her life. The repetition of ‘one’ record here and there conveys an uncaring tone. They are dispersed, which shows each one is weak, and that love is weak. The records were ‘bleached,’ ‘marked,’ ‘mended’ and ‘coloured.’ These past tense verbs suggest love has been distorted and is vulnerable to change. Another sign of Larkin’s view of love is in the last line. The woman was not looking for the records, instead ‘she found them, looking for something else.’ Love is now so minuscule it does not attract her, and is not worthy of preservation. Her ‘widowhood’ was a result of failed love.

    In the second stanza she is ‘relearning’ the potential of youth, when she fell in love. We are shown Larkin’s perspective of how young people react to their youth and love. Their ‘unfailing sense’ implies confidence in love; this feeling grows comparable to ‘a spring-woken tree.’ Youth here is, like a tree, strong and full of hope when it’s young. There is also a sense of awakening, they are growing, and finding out more about ‘that hidden freshness.’ This refers to love, it might be waiting for them or the young are just about to fall in love. Overall this stanza conveys the idealized love, where it is hopeful and unstoppable.

    Larkin lets the reader down in the third stanza, as we are presented with the harsh reality of love. She comes to realization when love ‘broke out’ to show its fakeness. This is a dramatic phrase; there is a sense of enlightenment. The effect is that Larkin has surprised the reader. Imagery in the first part is bright; the ‘much-mentioned brilliance’ of love is exaggerated. The ‘glare’ may have blinded her with love, thus unable to see reality. Described as ‘sailing above,’ larking tells us this view of love is out of reach consequently it will not ‘solve and satisfy.’ It is hard to admit the failure of love, because she (and people who hold this view) believed in it so much. The last line points out Larkin’s view directly: love always fails.

    I think this poem is most downbeat of all. Larkin has presented us with a emotionally tragic tale, and tries to convince the reader his views. And I think the poem does this well. The nostalgic and sad tone reduces readers’ confidence in love. ‘Talking in Bed’ in similar to the previous poem; it also examines the significance love and relationships. However the content differs, this one refers to a married couple. The language and structure is also different. ‘Talking in Bed’ is much shorter, lack of details lead to ambiguity. This poem is less dramatic than the previous one: the tones suggested are subtle.

    The title gives an impression of a couple together in bed. They seem to represent complete intimacy, however, Larkin shows in the poem that there is no real understanding. For the couple, talking ‘ought’ to be the easiest, it should be straightforward because they are in a close relationship. Most people share this view. However, by using this word, Larkin does not believe this, it could be because the couple is ‘lying’ to each other. Being truthful to each other is an ’emblem’ of a successful relationship (they do not have secrets between them, trust is an important element in love). Long ago, they were ‘honest,’ but now they are ‘lying.’

    This shows they are not as close, and phrases such as ‘distance’ and ‘isolation’ supports this. This is a sign of a failing marriage (or relationship). And, as other Larkin poems suggest, time means change. This means, as ‘more and more time’ goes by, the couples are drifting further apart. They are unaware, because time ‘passes silently,’ regardless of their presence; this shows the harshness of reality: love will ultimately end. Larkin also describes the ‘outside’ world. A lot of dark imagery is used to convey cheerless tone; this may be used to represent reality. At the end of the poem Larkin states that truth and kindness are mutually exclusive – so the truth is always harsh, and cannot exist at the same time as kindness (or love), which is always a lie. But, the poem is unclear of why love fails; perhaps it is just the nature of reality.

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    Important element in love Essay. (2017, Nov 09). Retrieved from

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