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The Whitsun Weddings Analysis

Author: Poetry of Philip Larkin Type: Poetry Views: 487

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The Whitsun Weddings1958That Whitsun, I was late getting away:Not till about

One-twenty on the sunlit SaturdayDid my three-quarters-empty train pull out,

All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense

Of being in a hurry gone. We ranBehind the backs of houses, crossed a street

Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thenceThe river's level drifting breadth began,Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.All afternoon, through the tall heat that sleptFor miles inland,A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, andCanals with floatings of industrial froth;A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dippedAnd rose: and now and then a smell of grassDisplaced the reek of buttoned carriage-clothUntil the next town, new and nondescript,Approached with acres of dismantled cars.At first, I didn't notice what a noiseThe weddings made

Each station that we stopped at: sun destroys

The interest of what's happening in the shade,

And down the long cool platforms whoops and skirls

I took for porters larking with the mails,

And went on reading. Once we started, though,

We passed them, grinning and pomaded, girls

In parodies of fashion, heels and veils,

All posed irresolutely, watching us go,As if out on the end of an eventWaving goodbye

To something that survived it. Struck, I leant

More promptly out next time, more curiously,

And saw it all again in different terms:

The fathers with broad belts under their suits

And seamy foreheads; mothers loud and fat;

An uncle shouting smut; and then the perms,

The nylon gloves and jewellery-substitutes,

The lemons, mauves, and olive-ochres thatMarked off the girls unreally from the rest.Yes, from cafés

And banquet-halls up yards, and bunting-dressedCoach-party annexes, the wedding-daysWere coming to an end. All down the lineFresh couples climbed aboard: the rest stood round;The last confetti and advice were thrown,And, as we moved, each face seemed to defineJust what it saw departing: children frowned

At something dull; fathers had never knownSuccess so huge and wholly farcical;The women shared

The secret like a happy funeral;

While girls, gripping their handbags tighter, stared

At a religious wounding. Free at last,

And loaded with the sum of all they saw,

We hurried towards London, shuffling gouts of steam.

Now fields were building-plots, and poplars cast

Long shadows over major roads, and for

Some fifty minutes, that in time would seemJust long enough to settle hats and say


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

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Larkin's mature poetic persona is known for it's 'plainness and scepticism'. Other recurrent features of his mature work are sudden openings and 'highly-structured but flexible verse forms', in Whitsun Weddings Larkin uses enjambment a lot in this poem to continue a sentence or phrase to the next verse, Larkin uses this to keep each stanza very tightly constructed and also is used to make the reader's eye follow on to the next sentence. In addition Larkin may have used enjambment to make the reader feel uncomfortable or the poem feel like 'flow of thought' with a sense of urgency and disorder. In each stanza the second line is used as a point and the rest of the stanza could be seen as an explanation to that stanza. Larkin uses a certain poetic form to share the experience of his journey with the reader, so through the structure and the narrative, they can relive the emotions and sensations he felt. Larkin creates an almost "plodding" rhythm through the rhyme scheme and his use of iambic pentameter. The poetic form is quite regular with eights stanzas, each consisting of ten lines and rhyming a b a b c d e c d e which creates the rhythmic sound of a train as it gathers speed. The continuous rhyming pattern throughout the eight verses and the pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables.

| Posted on 2009-11-21 | by a guest

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tax advantage if people married in may
larkin making jokes that poor people (council houses) got married in cheap laughable attire

| Posted on 2008-08-24 | by a guest

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