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Aubade Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Larkin Type: poem Views: 8

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I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.

Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.

In time the curtain-edges will grow light.

Till then I see what's really always there:

Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,

Making all thought impossible but how

And where and when I shall myself die.

Arid interrogation: yet the dread

Of dying, and being dead,

Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse

-- The good not done, the love not given, time

Torn off unused -- nor wretchedly because

An only life can take so long to climb

Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;

But at the total emptiness for ever,

The sure extinction that we travel to

And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,

Not to be anywhere,

And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid

No trick dispels. Religion used to try,

That vast moth-eaten musical brocade

Created to pretend we never die,

And specious stuff that says No rational being

Can fear a thing it will not feel
, not seeing

That this is what we fear -- no sight, no sound,

No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,

Nothing to love or link with,

The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,

A small unfocused blur, a standing chill

That slows each impulse down to indecision.

Most things may never happen: this one will,

And realisation of it rages out

In furnace-fear when we are caught without

People or drink. Courage is no good:

It means not scaring others. Being brave

Lets no one off the grave.

Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.

It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,

Have always known, know that we can't escape,

Yet can't accept. One side will have to go.

Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring

In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring

Intricate rented world begins to rouse.

The sky is white as clay, with no sun.

Work has to be done.

Postmen like doctors go from house to house.


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

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This poem is clearly about the poet\'s fear of death and its finality. He is scared of the oblivion expressed in \"No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with...\" and thinks there is no so called afterlife. However, we also find joy and appreciation of life expressed by Larkin. He admits that \"Death is no better whined at than withstood.\" Furthermore, the poem ends as dawn arrives, signifying the end of the Aubade. Here, the arrival of the dawn allows Larkin to drop his preoccupations with death and get on with life. Referring back to stanza 4, he states that he only feels the fear of death if \"caught without people or drink\". Larkin, being an individual who lived in isolation, did have a lot of time to explore his preoccupations with death.

| Posted on 2013-04-15 | by a guest

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| Posted on 2013-01-24 | by a guest

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In a significant number of his poems Larkin is pre-occupied with death, aging, cemetaries. He is looking for a way out of oblivion, but as an atheist he sees
that a it is hopeless. This lack f hope accounts for his morbid voice.

| Posted on 2012-04-22 | by a guest

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I don't see it as such a dark poem as most might. However, I'm an unrepentant atheist much like Larkin is, and so the message might be a different one to me.
To me Larkin seems to be saying "Look, everyone is afraid of death." because for an atheist, this is all there is. Not only is he saying trying to convey that fear is not what one should feel, though natural, but that they should specifically not fear death because this it all there is and it should not be wasted.
When he starts off, talking about lying in bed before the light of the day has started, he is conveying to the reader that in this is all occuring in the earliest hours of the day, before the day even starts for many, many people. I think he is calling on this time so that the reader will picture a time that is still as they read the poem. To me, Larkin is just saying "This is it, don't waste it. It's not always great, it's not always wonderful, nor is it always pretty but this is it so don't waste it worrying about when it will end."
After all, he does end his poem when the day really begins, doesn't he?

| Posted on 2009-05-29 | by a guest

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The last poem that Larkin ever wrote and published was called ‘Aubade.’
Line 1: ‘I work all day and get half drunk at night’
This is a very mundane comment to make, giving the impression that he is bored with the old routine.
Line 5-7: ‘Unresting death, a whole day nearer now, Making all thought impossible but how and where and when I shall myself die.’
In these few lines it seems that Larkin believes that his life is simply awaiting his death, counting down the days until he has no more for him the problem of dying is all consuming and takes up much of his time.
Larkin is afraid of death. Horrified as it says in line ten, this poem is an expression of his thoughts about death and the fact that we have to accept it.
Towards the end on the first stanza Larkin begins to refer to death as a sort of new beginning, ‘and soon, nothing more terrible, nothing more true.’ (Line 20)
Stanza two is about the fear of death being an irrational fear, ‘a special way of being afraid.’ You cannot hear, feel, see, smell or touch death so why should you be afraid of it. Line 29, ‘nothing to love or link with’ is somewhat puzzling to the reader as Larkin never appeared to be loving or that he wanted particularly to form lasting relationships with many people. So perhaps he is feeling regret towards the way this he lived his life, predominantly by himself. He is sad about dying.
Death no matter how far away is always ‘a small, unfocussed blur, a standing chill.’ It was not a matter of if, but when and how. Nothing he could do would change that fact. Things can distract you, ‘in furnace-fear when we are caught without people or drink,’ but nothing changes the fact. ‘Death is no different whined at than withstood.’
The final stanza of this poem is about what happens when death finally gets a hold of you. We know it is true, it is real, yet still cannot accept it. Even though it is not accepted the telephone call is still expected. The world you lived in adapts to life without you, as if your part of the world was rented. Your house is sold, your possessions auctioned.

| Posted on 2008-06-26 | by a guest

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