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Wants Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Larkin Type: poem Views: 5

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Beyond all this, the wish to be alone:

However the sky grows dark with invitation-cards

However we follow the printed directions of sex

However the family is photographed under the flagstaff—

Beyond all this, the wish to be alone.

Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs:

Despite the artful tensions of the calendar,

The life insurance, the tabled fertility rites,

The costly aversion of the eyes from death—

Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs.


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

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I believe that Larkin may be showing how humanity has a desire to conform to what society deems as being acceptable. By "following the printed directions of sex", the poet is depersonalizing an intimate moment which further suggests that conformity is taking away choice, which is something that Larkin often had a problem with.

| Posted on 2017-02-18 | by a guest

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Philip larkin through his poem feels free to ask loneliness and he want to be free from all responsibilities and obligations that the world put on him..

| Posted on 2015-08-05 | by a guest

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In his poem "Wants," Philip Larkin expresses his "wish to be alone." The poet desires to be freed from the many obligations and expectations that society imposes upon him. He yearns to be free of social obligations, which are symbolized by the phrase, "the sky grows dark with invitation-cards." He wishes to be free of "the printed directions of sex," referring to the expectations that society has regarding the sexual behavior of a man or a woman. He also wishes that he did not have to be "photographed under the flag" together with his family; this seems to refer to the obligations of one's country (the flag) and one's family.
In the second paragraph, Larkin seems to go even farther: he seems to desire to be free of the "burden" of life itself. He expresses a "desire for oblivion," or self-destruction.
Although this thought sounds radical, consider how it resembles the famous words of Hamlet:
To die, to sleep...
and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'tis a consummation(70)
Devoutly to be wish'd.
- Kangge Darin

| Posted on 2015-04-02 | by a guest

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I think he's talking about world-weariness, which is something that many people feel - particularly as they get older, and particular if they have a somewhat introverted disposition. The endless meaningless small-talk - the words, phrases, jokes, strutting egos you've encountered a hundred times before - the fact that getting what you want only leads to brief satisfaction before another desire is felt - the longing just to shut everything out and not say, do or think another thing. "Stop the world, I want to get off!" You don't have to be a poet to resonate with that.

| Posted on 2015-01-19 | by a guest

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He's talking about death and suicide. He's saying that no matter how much we can build up our lives and try to put up bright little facades to explain the transient nature of life, death is still a constant oppression which ultimately negates anything in this world of life, if we let it. The desire to be alone is the death instinct crying out for attention and consuming us, sometimes paradoxically, in the face life.

| Posted on 2013-12-03 | by a guest

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I think he\'s saying that despite feeling occasionally a bit gloomy he\'s still very much in love with life; that you should always look on the bright side and grab each day by the balls.

| Posted on 2013-06-11 | by a guest

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Right. I think Larkin relies on the weight of his line to convey the nature of death, which he uses as a symbol throughout his works. Death is unfathomably heavy, and each of us is Atlas holding up the world. If only we could look death in the face, we would not be doomed to this partial understanding of the world.

| Posted on 2010-10-27 | by a guest

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I think Philip Larkin is saying...
despite all the typical rituals of every-day life (invitations, family photographs) -- all these things which seem the \'norm\' in the ordinary days of one\'s life... beyond it all there is still the wish to be alone.... and not to have all of this...
The wish for \"oblivion\" (forgetfulness, unconsciousness) , despite the everyday things that take place in one\'s life... \'Life insurance\'...
Despite our vain attempts to prevent the inevitable process of death .... Underneath it all there is still the desire for oblivion (unconsciousness).
For forgetting it all and just... \"sleeping\".

| Posted on 2010-10-08 | by a guest

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| Posted on 2009-11-13 | by a guest

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