John Betjeman is very famous for his poetry, especially his style. He used mockery with nostalgia, criticism with affection and melancholia with humour. This is shown in many of his poems especially those about women. When poets write about women they usually say how feminine they are. How petite, caring and loving. They usually go into depth on their beautiful and compare them with flowers or special treasures. However John Betjeman describes how much he loves a sports girl, that’s adventurous and strong. He doesn’t compare them to sweet innocent possessions but as men or large monstrous hedges or bushes.Order now
His women are not seen or admired for their caring abilities yet for their talent for their strength in sports. In Myfanwy Betjeman thinks about what she would have looked like when she was younger. In this poem Betjeman is in his early childhood, sitting in his playpen admiring his nanny who is Myfanwy. This poem does show some of Myfanwys feminine ways as he says about her smell of fresh soap and her softness. Then he thinks to himself “was she a hockey girl, tennis or gym. Was she a prefect or head of her dormitory?
As though her feminine ways are obvious he wants to know whether she was sporty in her youth, he wants to know what she is like in depth. He has images appear in his head of her dressed in useful clothing like a school uniform riding her bike. When he thinks of Myfanwy he seems to act childish. Like child nursery rhymes they are nice to hear, and are a pleasure for children. The way Betjeman describes Myfanwy appearance and thinks of her reading a childrens book to him, this shows that not only does he adore her but finds her a pleasure to be with.
The use of language in this poem shows us that he adores her, by the use of adjectives at the beginning of nearly every sentence. The use of questions helps to add pace. Pace is quite powerful and seen as strong like his women. This poem shows that Betjeman likes to be protected. This is why he has put himself in a venerable position of being a young child, needing care and attention. He wants to be cared for by an older stronger woman. “You will protect meâ€¦. ringleader, tom-boy, and chum to the weak. ” He makes himself seem weak and needing a lot of protection.
Most women want a man who is strong and protective of them, it’s very unusual for a man to want protection. Betjeman seems to prefer strong ladies maybe due to his insecurity. In Oxford: sudden illness at the bus stop Betjeman talks about women and how materialism doesn’t make them happy. He talks about a lady and her husband going from poor to riches. And having luxury furnishings and home. The poem then goes on to describe that the lady is being left at home and is put upon to create dinner parties for his fellow mates at work.
At first she liked the idea and liked to create them, but after time she didn’t enjoy it and felt resentful, unwanted. The parties and entertaining was growing old and boring. Although with having all this materialism made one feel safer she was unable to enjoy it. This woman would give up everything to go back to how her life was before when she was loved and her life was simple. The use of language in this poem show that he feels that materialism isn’t the key to happiness. That this woman felt that she needed to do something else apart from entertaining her husbands colleges.
I feel that Betjeman is trying to show that women who are not active and are put upon are not as happy and beautiful as those who live life as active as possible. “What forks since then have been slammed in places? â€¦ too much, too many! So fetch the doctor. ” This shows that she is totally fed up of preparing dinners that this is enough no more its making her depressed, that’s why she needs a doctor. Betjeman could also be trying to put across that those who are materialised and live in urban areas suffer with more health problems than those who live in rural areas with active outdoor jobs do.
The lady seems to be old ” too much, too many! â€¦ This dress has grown such a heavier load since Jack was only a Junior Proctor. ” Thus thinking to her self what as she got to show for it, apart from materialism not happiness. Another poem which backs up this point of view of women not being happy when surrounded by luxury furnishings or ways of life is Sun And Fun. Betjeman is trying to show the ladies point of view about her life. She says that when she was younger she was rich and fashionable and had fun yet when she looks back on her life she says what was it all for.
She regrets her life. Youth and Age on Beaulieu River, Hants. This poem starts off by describing the countryside and scenic routes. In this poem Betjeman describes a woman as shapes and natural features. “Tulip figure, so appealing, oval face. ” This seems very feminine yet if you read the rest of the stanza you will see him describe a lady in a different way, ” on to huge and lake like reaches, slacks the slim young limbs revealing, sun brown arm the tiller feeling. ” He makes this beautiful woman seem butch.
He also describes the ladies life, when she was young she is described as the sun, bright cheerful and full on energy. But as he goes on to describe her as she is ageing he describes her as a sunset, lacking energy and brightness. The warmth and glow disappears as you get older. Betjeman has described a variety of women those who he adores the sporty, strong women. To those he feels sorry for those who are put upon by their husbands, and have no fun in their lives, then to those who he compares to nature and uses nature to show their age.
These poems when put together show his point of view. From other poems of his like Slough it is obvious that he doesn’t like modernising or urbanisation. He prefers the countryside; he also doesn’t like tinned foods as he thinks it is fake. Rather like in the poem “Oxford” the lady gets fed up of entertaining colleges she uses tinned foods. As though she doesn’t care and uses a cheaper range of food even though they live in a middle/upper class environment.
His love for sporty women is shown in several poems: Pot pourri from Surrey garden, Myfanwy, Senex, a Subaltern’s love song, the Licorice fields at Pontefract. These poems show how he admires strong, sporty people. This could be because they do sports they are still using the countryside for their sports. And they are strong in the mind and don’t allow men to dominate them. They are not easily beaten. So the variety of women are those who are sporty, and competitive, compared to those who are stuck to a daily routine of cooking and cleaning.
Those who look back on their lives and think what have they got to show for their lives. Then those of a young age compared to those who are older. Their surroundings, upbringing, and their view on life effect these poems. Betjeman uses his views of modernisation and uses women to show these. As he makes people look at women differently by the way he describes them, noticing other features of them that show strength and health. How urbanisation can affect happiness in someone’s life, and how much better the countryside is compared to the city.