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Mr Bleaney Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Larkin Type: poem Views: 9

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'This was Mr Bleaney's room. He stayed
The whole time he was at the Bodies, till
They moved him.' Flowered curtains, thin and frayed,
Fall to within five inches of the sill,

Whose window shows a strip of building land,
Tussocky, littered. 'Mr Bleaney took
My bit of garden properly in hand.'
Bed, upright chair, sixty-watt bulb, no hook

Behind the door, no room for books or bags -
'I'll take it.' So it happens that I lie
Where Mr Bleaney lay, and stub my fags
On the same saucer-souvenir, and try

Stuffing my ears with cotton-wool, to drown
The jabbering set he egged her on to buy.
I know his habits - what time he came down,
His preference for sauce to gravy, why

He kept on plugging at the four aways -
Likewise their yearly frame: the Frinton folk
Who put him up for summer holidays,
And Christmas at his sister's house in Stoke.

But if he stood and watched the frigid wind
Tousling the clouds, lay on the fusty bed
Telling himself that this was home, and grinned,
And shivered, without shaking off the dread

That how we live measures our own nature,
And at his age having no more to show
Than one hired box should make him pretty sure
He warranted no better, I don't know.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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Larkin in this poem could be suggesting that life isn't worth living because no matter how we live life we still end up in that 'one hired box' which could be the coffin. Larkin could be suggesting that everything we do in life is just a distraction from the thought of death approaching us no matter how slowly it may come.

| Posted on 2017-03-20 | by a guest

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Larkin in this poem could be suggesting that life isn't worth living because no matter how we live life we still end up in that 'one hired box' which could be the coffin. Larkin could be suggesting that everything we do in life is just a distraction from the thought of death approaching us no matter how slowly it may come.

| Posted on 2017-03-20 | by a guest

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Larkin's poetry spuns around the urban locale. He gives way to the irony in his poetry and uses it best to depict the miserable plight of modern man.In this poem, we also find colloquial language,and its the factor that makes soft spot for Larkin in one's heart.
Amina Razaq

| Posted on 2015-04-08 | by a guest

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Actually the poem is written after World War 1.So,it depicts the socio-economic situation of its people.People are compelled to live in poor,shabby and rented rooms as Mr.Bleany lives.
Iram Butt,Faisalabad,Pakistan.

| Posted on 2015-04-07 | by a guest

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The word 'Bodies' is not referring to a morgue, it is the name of a factory that makes car shells, which is where Mr Bleaney worked temporarily until he was moved on, hence 'till they moved him'

| Posted on 2014-10-12 | by a guest

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This is the poem of Philip Larkin that convey many beautiful theme.

| Posted on 2014-04-21 | by a guest

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\'I don\'t know\' at the very end of the poem creates uncertainty, Larkin creates all these idea\'s throughout then steps back from them all.

| Posted on 2013-05-16 | by a guest

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Bleaney is a personification of the estrangement and alienation a man faces in an urban setting. The substandard lefe the Bleaney leads is an indication of the declining quality of life modern times have to offer.

| Posted on 2013-03-16 | by a guest

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it\'s realy truely a good poem. Syed Izhar Baqir . Pakistan

| Posted on 2012-12-02 | by a guest

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The colloquial style in which it is written, gives the poem an intimate, conversational feel. Also the enjambament reflects the ongoing, never ceasing nature of life.

| Posted on 2012-10-08 | by a guest

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This poem is comparing the two people Mr Bleaney and this new person and showing how the two are alike in personalities and tastes

| Posted on 2011-06-11 | by a guest

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it uses a abab rhyme scheme except for the very last stanza for some reason

| Posted on 2011-06-08 | by a guest

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Anyone who relies on these comments for an understanding of this outstanding poem by Larkin is fooling themselves.

| Posted on 2011-05-30 | by a guest

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i think it\'s important to remember that the description of Mr Bleaney is based soley on the assumptions of the persona. We could argue, i suppose, that these assupmtions reflect the general expectations or stereotypes surrounding the proleteriat. They\'re all lumped together. The passive nature of Mr Bleaney suggests that we are measured by our possesions, thus the capitalistic society in which he lives. Mr Bleaney has no control as such, he is a product of his wealth and this lack of control is reflected in the enjambment.
Larkin makes this notion pretty implicit as the persona says \"how we live measures our own nature\". The way Mr Bleaney lives defines the type of person he is to the persona.
Marxist criticism can be applied heavily to this poem as it embodies many marxist notions.

| Posted on 2011-02-06 | by a guest

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Wonderful poem which vividly expresses via the medium of Mr Bleaney, both the writers isolation and contempt for society.

| Posted on 2010-12-03 | by a guest

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Philip Larkin expresses the empty, repetitive and boring lifestyle Mr Bleaney once lived. The rhyming scheme being ABAB conveys a boring, regular pattern, which is expresses further: "I know his habbits" This means he had a regular lifestyle. "Stuffing my ears with cotton-wool to frown the jabbering set he egged her on to buy" Does this mean Mr Bleaney is anti-social? Did he create this boring and lonely life for himself? A final point, "Flowered curtains, thin and frayed fall to within five incges of the sill, whose window shows a strip of building land" His view is boring, and has no potential, just like Mr Bleaneys life. No potential, common and regular. As the curtains come short, does this mean Mr Bleaney could gaze out of the window when lying in bed? Does he gaze with wonder and regret? A truely unique poem, which was created to question our own living.

| Posted on 2010-06-03 | by a guest

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the bodies is the car factory he worked in- this suggests hes easy to move about because he has no family ties like a wife or children.

| Posted on 2010-01-26 | by a guest

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the word "Bodies" used here might be ambigous.it could be the name of a house/inn, or it could be a reference to the morgue. Mr. Bleaney is also described as a vey passive entity.

| Posted on 2009-10-06 | by a guest

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Upon initial inspection the poem Mr Bleaney shows the Larkin persona becoming an occupant of a room that previously belonged to Mr Bleaney. The poem begins to describe the room and then goes on to describe what is left of Mr Bleaney. Each detail about Mr Bleaney seem almost trivial and almost irrelevant; ‘his habits-what time he came down, his preference for sauce to gravy’. The effect of this trivial description of the previous occupant is to emphasize his lack of identity. He lived here but all that remains of him are these irrelevant facts. ‘I know his habits’ suggest that Mr Bleaney was a man with a very structured life without any spontaneity.
Larkin uses a contemplative tone throughout as the Larkin persona seems to compare himself to Mr Bleaney, ‘stub my fags on the same saucer’ or ‘I lay where Mr Bleaney lay’. Then again later in the poem he stands in the same place as the Larkin Persona is doing during the poem watching the tousling winds. The question on the mind of the pet throughout is whether Mr Bleaney is defined only by the impact he made and the objects he left on this earth. Larkin questions whether you can detach Mr Bleaney from, what seems to an outsider, a futile and pointless life, of whether there is more to this man than what he has left behind. The final line ‘I don’t know’ leaves this question up to the reader for their own interpretation as does the poem as a whole.
Mr Bleaney, on a metaphorical level, is not just an old man who lived in the room but in fact symbolises all of Larkin’s feelings and fears about the monotony of old age life. Even within the poem he may not exist and just is a literary device that Larkin uses. The idea that a man can die and leave no impact upon the world is a very scary idea and one that this poem is based on. The lack of identity is shown by the trivial facts stated about Mr Bleaney and the Larkin persona is scared that he may also leave this world without imposing any of himself upon it. The description of the room seem to also symbolise Mr Bleaney in the ‘thin and frayed curtains’ or ‘fusty bed’ showing the weakness of old age until in the final stanza he leaves the world in a ‘hired box’. This box can be seen as the room that both Mr Bleaney and the Larkin persona are renting or a coffin.
The seven quatrains are written in an ABAB rhyme scheme and also iambic pentameter almost leaving the reader feeling claustrophobic with the rigid pattern of this poem that symbolises the rigid pattern of old age life. There is no fragmentation at all in the poem, enjambment used throughout, all to emphasize the monotony of life. The enjambment perhaps used to show how life flows past us as the sentences flow past lines, and we can do nothing to stop it. The poem was originally called Mr Gridley, again a symbol for the grid-like monotonous pattern of anonymity that Larkin is so scared to fall into in old age. Both the Larkin Persona and Mr Bleaney stand and watch the tousling wind. This is pathetic fallacy the frigid wind showing once again the monotonous pattern of old age, the main theme throughout the poem. Wind is normally something blowing in many directions with much energy, so the idea of a frigid wind seems cold, lifeless and nothing like wind. This is the same as the way that life normally represents freedom and happiness but old age life is like a frigid version of life, without excitement or fun but just a repeated pattern of normality and anonymity.

| Posted on 2009-09-27 | by a guest

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stanza two is hard to write about the rest is easy though

| Posted on 2009-09-21 | by a guest

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'I lie where Mr Bleaney lay'
This shows that Larkin is comparing both his and Mr Bleaney's lives, they are not very different because they are both predictable, they both could only afford to rent a room and they are both pointless and dull.

| Posted on 2009-09-17 | by a guest

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Fusty bed” and “thin and frayed” reveals that the room is cold, damp and decaying however this too could be a reference to the remainder of Philip Larkin’s life and body, - rianna tomkins

| Posted on 2009-09-10 | by a guest

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Not only does the poem show Mr Bleaneys life and lifestyle but we can assume that the speaker in the poem is Philip Larkin himself and therefore the poem also reflects Larkins Life. Larkin has created a masterpiece. Even the title, Mr Bleaney conjures images in our heads about the character and that is before we have even started the first stanza. We get an image of a bleak dull older man.

| Posted on 2009-06-13 | by a guest

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"one hired box" is ambiguous. It could be referring to the room BLeaney and the persona rented but it also has overtones of death. It suggests a coffin and that life is only for rent and it's how we live it and make the most of it that counts.

| Posted on 2009-03-30 | by a guest

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ibelieve the poem is full of knowledge and language. It is truly a great poem.

| Posted on 2009-02-06 | by a guest

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" i know his habits" suggests that Mr Bleaney was a man with a very structured life, with a strict regime without any spontaneity.
Also, " one hired box" is a very ambiguous statement, and could be taken to mean that all his possessions could fit into one box- thus meaning that he was also strict with his money, taking no pleasure with material things.
" Behind the door- no room for books or bags" suggests that the room is very small, cramped and with little room for storage.
" Fousty bed" gives the impression that the room is damp, cold and decaying
The above decriptions give the general impression that the room is bleak and uninteresting and not at all comfortable.
" That how we live measures our own nature" is the narrator questioning how much he really knows about Mr Bleaney - while all this habits were listed in the previous stanza - he asks the question - do our personal belongings and the material items that we own define us as a person - this is the narrator telling us that there is a lot that he does not know about Mr Bleaney- for example, what he was like as a man.
He also tells us that while he knows all of his habits he does not know whether or not Mr Bleaney was happy with this his life or whether he deserved more.

| Posted on 2009-01-26 | by a guest

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The fact that only Mr. Bleaney is talked about in the poem, with the rest of the people featured in it going unnamed creates a feeling of isolation on Mr. Bleaney's part and on the part of the narrator

| Posted on 2009-01-19 | by a guest

.: Bleany :.

" on the same saucer-souveneir, and try'
this line shows he hasnt brought enough with him and still used mr bleanys things

| Posted on 2008-05-21 | by a guest

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