Phillip Larkin poetry table - themes, analysis & comparison to Abse

A table with most of the poems in 'The Whitsun Weddings' by Phillip Larkin with key analysis and themes, and what to compare to with other Larkin poems or Abse's poems from 'Welsh Retrospective'

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Larkin Poem Main Themes/Ideas Useful Quotes Links to other Larkin/Abse
Poems
Here Loneliness N Vs. I ­ Negative words to describe Home is so Sad
town "cheap" (could be viewed in factual The Whitsun Weddings ­
Nature Vs. sense) whereas nature "gold", Nature Vs. Industrial
Industrialism Phonetic describing nature ­…

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Mr Bleaney Emptiness reflected Curtains "fall to within five inches of the Home is so Sad
in place sill" + listing of "no hook/Behind the Last Visit to 198
door, no room for books or bags" Cathedral Road ­
Can't connect Last 2 stanzas: reflection of his solitary emptiness reflected…

Page 3

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Inter-stanza rhyming - off beat structure
like Jazz

Faith Falsity ­ of "warm spring rain of loving care" ­ Sunny Prestatyn ­ badly
Healing expectations metaphor temporary/stereotypically represented women
light + refreshing/start for growth/Noah Arundel Tomb/Sunny
Desperation for love ­ flood cleansing Prestatyn­ Falsity and
reality underneath
"A sense of…

Page 4

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thought + didn't solve problems/never Reference Back ­ past
Music ­connect to found love relationships explored
past "Sprawling hyphenated word" through music (emphasise
wanted it to be connected but reality loss through repetition +
Reflection reflections on time
far apart (life now and past)
passing)
Had a full life ­…

Page 5

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of?//"dilution"- to focus on someone Whitsun
Changing other than self Weddings/Return to
culture/society ­ Enjambment ­ creates thought Cardiff ­ journeys
having children wandering/conversational/spoken feel Afternoons/Self's the
man ­ family, society's
"Locked." full stopped, one word
Journey views to having one
impact ­ locked in our lives
Circle structure ­…

Page 6

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"seven" "four-hundred" ­ numbers
indicating what it cost him
"sparked/The whole shooting match off"
danger to him/all the competitors/
cupid's arrow

A Study of Character 3 genre of books ­ 3 stanzas Whitsun weddings ­
Reading Used characters in books to take upon contrast how characterises
Habits Existence himself with…

Page 7

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Semantic field of distortion ­ not being
told full story, way of life disappearing,
class system erroding

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