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I Remember, I Remember Analysis

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

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Coming up England by a different line

For once, early in the cold new year,

We stopped, and, watching men with number plates

Sprint down the platform to familiar gates,

'Why, Coventry!' I exclaimed. 'I was born here.'

I leant far out, and squinnied for a sign

That this was still the town that had been 'mine'

So long, but found I wasn't even clear

Which side was which. From where those cycle-crates

Were standing, had we annually departed

For all those family hols? . . . A whistle went:

Things moved. I sat back, staring at my boots.

'Was that,' my friend smiled, 'where you "have your roots"?'

No, only where my childhood was unspent,

I wanted to retort, just where I started:

By now I've got the whole place clearly charted.

Our garden, first: where I did not invent

Blinding theologies of flowers and fruits,

And wasn't spoken to by an old hat.

And here we have that splendid family

I never ran to when I got depressed,

The boys all biceps and the girls all chest,

Their comic Ford, their farm where I could be

'Really myself'. I'll show you, come to that,

The bracken where I never trembling sat,

Determined to go through with it; where she

Lay back, and 'all became a burning mist'.

And, in those offices, my doggerel

Was not set up in blunt ten-point, nor read

By a distinguished cousin of the mayor,

Who didn't call and tell my father There

Before us, had we the gift to see ahead -

'You look as though you wished the place in Hell,'

My friend said, 'judging from your face.' 'Oh well,

I suppose it's not the place's fault,' I said.

'Nothing, like something, happens anywhere.'


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

.: :.

'I Remember, I Remember'
Just a quick, somewhat interesting, analysis of this poem's pace:
There is a relatively fast pace in the first two stanzas of this poem: only two out of the ten lines are end-stopped; words such as ‘Sprint’ - which conveys connotations of speed, rushing, fast - further convey the hurried pace. This is possibly intended to echo the rush the narrator was in to get out of the town - therefore suggesting his negative feelings towards the town and the depressing memories it evokes within him. Upon the trains departure from the town (stanza three) the pace slows down - there are several full stops and all lines are end-stopped - thus echoing the relaxed and relieved feeling felt by the narrator because he is leaving the town.

| Posted on 2014-07-22 | by a guest

.: :.

I wonder if J K Rowling read this poem when she was creatign Harry Potter.
Think about it.

| Posted on 2008-09-02 | by a guest

.: I remember, I remember :.

Exactly! He's lamenting the LACK of events that go into a 'normal' childhood, and therefore lead into 'normal' adulthood. In his very Larkin-like way, he is saying that things went wrong from the very start - but as he stresses at the end, this isn't because of anything in particular about the place itself, and so we are inclined to deduce that the fault lies within him himself and his upbringing (see 'This be the Verse'). This is without doubt one of my favourite larkin poems, with possibly the greatst of all his great last lines.

| Posted on 2008-04-08 | by a guest

.: "I remember" :.

This review is bollocks. None of the things that he describes actually happened. That's the point.

| Posted on 2008-03-19 | by a guest

.: "I Remember, I Remember" :.

The title of this poem, "I Remember, I Remember", is a reference to another poem of the same name by Thomas Hood, a poem which shows the reader an adult's wistful remembrance of his childhood.

Similarly, Larkin's poem is written from the point of view of an adult reflecting on his childhood. The fact that the speaker "leant for out, and squinnied for a sign/ That this was still the town that had been 'mine'", shows that he was looking back on his past from a distance, sort of like an observer. The role of the speaker as an observer is further emphasized by the speaker merely being a passenger on a train passing by the town, seeing the scene flash before him. Similarly, he contemplates each memory from his childhood fleetingly.

The language used in the poem is conversational yet poetic, exaggerating slightly, as memory is wont to do, the significant events in the speaker's childhood. The events which seem to have been so important to him in his childhood he now denies, which show a reluctance in the speaker to revisit and share his past with his friend. The dissatisfaction and disdain felt by the speaker for his childhood is obvious, especially in the tone of the last line - 'Nothing, like something, happens anywhere.' This line is a powerful ending to the poem. It writes off the events described throughout the entire poem as "nothing", and indicates that everything in the poem could have happened "anywhere", showing typical adult cynicism and dissatisfaction with life and youth, rather than fond remembrance, bringing to mind the bittersweet irony of the title of the poem "I Remember, I Remember".

| Posted on 2007-09-09 | by a guest

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