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Toads Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Larkin Type: poem Views: 10

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Why should I let the toad work

  Squat on my life?

Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork

  And drive the brute off?

Six days of the week it soils

  With its sickening poison -

Just for paying a few bills!

  That's out of proportion.

Lots of folk live on their wits:

  Lecturers, lispers,

Losels, loblolly-men, louts-

  They don't end as paupers;

Lots of folk live up lanes

  With fires in a bucket,

Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-

  they seem to like it.

Their nippers have got bare feet,

  Their unspeakable wives

Are skinny as whippets - and yet

  No one actually starves.

Ah, were I courageous enough

  To shout Stuff your pension!

But I know, all too well, that's the stuff

  That dreams are made on:

For something sufficiently toad-like

  Squats in me, too;

Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,

  And cold as snow,

And will never allow me to blarney

  My way of getting

The fame and the girl and the money

  All at one sitting.

I don't say, one bodies the other

  One's spiritual truth;

But I do say it's hard to lose either,

  When you have both.


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

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The first comment on this thread is a word-for-word copy of my analysis on article was originally posted on article was removed on my request as they had stopped revenue share to the writers.On deleting the article reverted the copyrights to me in the form of an e-mail with the original text .So I have this as proof.
Delete it before I proceed legally against the site.I\'m already taking action against many plagiarists this week.

| Posted on 2012-02-09 | by a guest

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The toad in the poem is a central metaphor by itself for a vocation that is forced. Especially, one that you have no attitude and aptitude for. The toad has been utilized as the apt metaphor as it is sluggish and ugly. It squats incorrigibly on areas that it is not supposed to, and is a pertinent emblem for stagnation. Here it is the stagnation of life, and stagnation of one’s rational and intellectual capabilities as it is sacrificed for the ‘labour’ of work..
The poet had an aptitude for writing that forms his area of expertise. The ‘wit’ here is a larger metaphor for people preferring money over their aptitude/area of interest. People do not resort to the vocation that they love for the want of more money, and therefore give in to the rat race…something that is represented by the great American Dream. The position of ‘squatting” is also an incorrigible/difficult one. The speaker strives to use his wit as a pitchfork and drive it away.
A week has only seven days, six of which the Toad soils. No adequate time is left for recreation. Just for the reason that that one has to toil to pay his bills, and that is totally out of proportion. The prospects of such work works like a “sickening poison”, one that grows on one’s system.
The poet goes on to list the many people who live on their wits. The first is the Lecturer. Lispers are here those ‘affecting the air of sophisticated culture’, not someone suffering from a speech impediment. These people thrive in the high strata by means of their ability of affectation. A ‘losel’ denotes a “worthless person”; and a lout a “clumsy, stupid fellow.” The speaker may signify that these may function as jokers/clowns by means of their wit. ‘Wit’ is also an alternative term to comedy. “Loblolly-man” from loblolly (meaning ‘a sloppy liquid’) may imply the act of appeasing someone (slang: soaping).This also requires a considerable talent in the art of talking. And yet, these people do not end up as paupers. He utilizes alliteration to emphasize this fact.
Also, people who seem to live on a basic minimum, seem to enjoy it, for they are not forced to work in spite of themselves. ‘Nippers’ is a kind of British colloquialism for ‘young boys’.
Lots of folk live up lanes With fires in a bucket, Eat windfalls and tinned sardines- They seem to like it. Their nippers have got bare feet, Their unspeakable wives Are skinny as whippets - and yet No one actually starves. The speaker wishes that he could tell his boss to go stuff his pension. But the idea of future dreams builds his vision, and obstructs his way. However, the irony of the situation is that one slogs to spend quality time with his loved ones; and in the rat-race does not get time at all to spend with his loved ones. The best years of his life while away working overtime. The ‘hunkers’ weigh him down. They are as cold as snow, and therefore benumbing. The word ‘hunker’ has the following meanings:
1) To squat close to the ground; crouch. Usually used with down: hunkered down to avoid the icy wind.
2) To take shelter, settle in, or hide out. Usually used with down: hunkered down in the cabin during the blizzard.
3) To hold stubbornly to a x it may allude to all of these meanings, crouch to avoid harsh financial realties, find refuge in the same, and obstinately stick to this ground. The ‘road less traveled’ will never let him get hold of the girl, money and fame at a single setting. Both these aspects do not necessarily complement or embody(bodies) each other always. But when work and aptitude co-exist, it is not difficult but almost impossible to lose the both, in spite of yourself because you love it.
Therefore the crux of the poem is: To work to live, or live to work?

| Posted on 2011-04-04 | by a guest

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evocative first person narrative, in which the narrator analyses the role of the infectious and ugly toad, namely man's enslaving tendency to work, on society.

| Posted on 2010-05-09 | by a guest

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the third stanza is showing that people that the poet does not like such as lecturers and previous poets are rich, unlike him. Showing a unfairness about work.

| Posted on 2009-12-29 | by a guest

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Final stanza - he believes that if you have work and have the need to work, you will never be able to rid yourself of a working lifestyle or that little voice inside you that makes you want to have a stable jobs and a plain, routine lifestyle

| Posted on 2009-11-24 | by a guest

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The work is like a toad. His work is boring and it is a burden.

| Posted on 2009-08-23 | by a guest

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Fire in the bucket may accommodate some
But it rendors my pitchfork ill-used and blunt
And whilst the toad has an obnoxious image
He's savin our souls from carnage and pillage
....Isn't He

| Posted on 2009-05-03 | by a guest

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The line "that dreams are made on" is an allusion to the tempest. I just found that a bit interesting.

| Posted on 2009-01-07 | by a guest

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The poet calls work something as repulsive as a toad.He wishes to get rid of its clutches. The work has killed his creativity and he feels imprisoned.The poet rues the fact that he does not have the courage to quit the job because he fears insecurity. He is afraid of losing the comfrots of his present life.

| Posted on 2008-07-18 | by a guest

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