Monday, April 1, 2019
The Whitsun Weddings, Philip Larkin
The Whitsun Weddings, Philip LarkinMany of the poems in Philip Larkins The Whitsun Weddings argon concerned with themes such as disillusion workforcet, isolation and the passage of time. However, one super C detailor that connects the majority of his work in this collection is Larkins seemingly inappropriate attitude towards women. Although in many of these poems it nookie be claimed that Larkin dismisses women as insignifi mintt, in that location is also sufficient evidence to suggest that his portrayal of them is in fact indicative of their desir competency and power, actuateicularly over the antheral person gender.In Afternoons, Larkin seems to this instant disregard women in a variety of modalitys, beginning with the suggestion that they are inferior to men their husbands are occupied in skilled trades whereas the repair function of the women is to produce and bring up their children. The prototypical stanza paints a particularly dreary picture of the routine lives of the mothers, with the gloomy opening summer is fading quickly followed by references to leaves f everying and the hollows of afternoons which connote the melancholy image of young passing. Con locatingring these are young women, however, may suggest that Larkin feels a degree of philanthropy towards their plight of piecemeal being replaced by a new coevals as they set free their children. The idea that this change is an inevitable process, indicated by natural wrangle such as wind, thickened, and leaves fall may gain ground imply that the speakers feelings are not as harsh as they ab initio appear. The symbolism of time passing premise in the title is carried by dint of the entire poem, ending in the rather ambiguous something is pushing them/ to the side of their own lives, to add to the sense that the women are continually taken for allow and have no retain over the direction of their lives. They are therefrom rendered insignificant both in the eyes of the speaker, who sees them as inferior to men standing behind them for support and with regard to life they are gradually upbraided, have no control over the passage of time and the however imprint they leave on the world is their impatient and expectant children.However, in both Afternoons and other poems such as Selfs the Man and fuck Songs in Age it becomes clear that rather than simply dismissing women, Larkin is actually struggling to disunite his attitude towards women with his perception of marriage a constant dichotomy for Larkin, who Nicholas fen describes as being terrified of marrying, and incapable of committing himself, mainly due to witnessing the nuisance of his own parents marriage. This fear and negative attitude is reflected in the language he uses to depict marriage and weddings, such as farcical and the oxymoronic happy funeral in The Whitsun Weddings. Similarly, the disdain he feels for the routine of domesticity is apparent in Selfs the Man, in which the fair sex is depicted as a persistent nag he has no time at all, now shes there all day. In Love Songs, Larkins combination of triviality the covers pleased her and poetic diction -frank submissive consort depict the life of a woman who has been left deeply unrealized in her widowhood. Like Afternoons, there is a clear sense of domesticity leaching away the individuality, and thus the human significance, perhaps, of the woman as time passes there is no longer the certainty of time that is present in young instead lone(prenominal) tidy fits and an estateful of washing remain.Interestingly, there is a perspicacious contrast between the relatively mature viewpoints in the aforementioned poems, which ecstasy a more(prenominal) sedate scuttlebutt on the perceived use of goods and services of women, and the blatant objectification present in others, most notably A canvass of Reading Habits and joyful Prestatyn. Although the latter could be seen as a commentary on the false, idealised images s gray-haired to us by the advertising industry, and social reaction to it, the imagery and language used can alternatively be interpreted as a crude portrayal of archetypal male attitudes towards women. Marsh states that Larkin himself was abusive and contemptuous of women, and the poet was widely known for his view that all women are stupid beings -both statements clearly demonstrated in Prestatyn. The fact that the little female child consistently has things done to her she was slapped up and setastride rather than being in control of her actions perhaps indicates a dismissal of women as static beings , yet the roughhewn and somewhat disturbing language offers a darker perception of women. Similar to in Afternoons, a hunk of coast stands behind her as if for support, but as the poem progresses from the subservient image of the daughter kneeling (the use of girl itself suggesting inferiority) the stanzas quickly give way to darker male humour obscenities such as hug e tits and a fissured crotch used to deface her image, until eventually she is stabbed and torn apart.On the other hand, the satirical tone present in the nett stanza of Prestatyn (she was too good for this life) could allow readers to make an alternative judgement. In the first stanza, the girl on the poster seems shallow and trite laughing on the sand in virginal white satin. This image of youth seems but likely to provoke such a despicable attack, but the words kneeling and tautened also connote sexual provocativeness. In light of this, the girl seems to bring the victimisation upon herself figuratively prostituting herself as it were. The end of the final stanza, however, subtly seems to mock those (assumedly men) who attempted to punish her (either for her contributions to the idealised images of the advertisement or for her unrealizable sexual innuendo) in the end all they had in their power was the ability to tear a picture. The replacement image of Fight Cancer illust rates this futility, and a degree of sympathy is present in the tender observation of a vulnerable hand left behind a body part also focused on in Broadcast.Another poem which deals explicitly with Larkins attitude towards women is A Study of Reading Habits. The language is quite childish, with its simplistic, informal vocabulary and references to comic books -the alliterative dirty dogs, or clichd old right hook. This idea is continued in the structure the excitement conveyed in the repetition of and in me and my cloak and fangs is also present in the freedom fighter rhyme scheme, but the initial shock comes in the second stanza with the foundation garment of rather sadistic sexual fantasies and violent behaviour towards women. This derogatory portrayal of women ripping times, clubbed with sex, broke them up- seems to suggest that women are solely there for the entertainment of men, sweet meringue-like objects to be enjoyed and consumed without regard to their individuality th e women are turned into unadulterated objects deprived of character or humanity.Moreover, distinct patterns throughout the collection can be seen to emerge. Although a number of the male characters in The Whitsun Weddings have name calling (Mr Bleaney, Arnold, Dockery and a poem dedicated to Sidney Bechet), women are unfailingly dismissed as insignificant through their lack of them they are only vaguely appreciate as her, she, and girl. At best, in Wild Oats, they are titled luxuriant and the friend, but that hardly shows a sensitivity towards these women rather, it further degrades them by acknowledging only their physical attributes. Indeed, this poem only briefly (and awkwardly) refers to the friend in spectacles as someone to talk to, whereas reference to dishy as the zaftig English rose is rhythmic, lilting and positive. Furthermore, the last stanza of this poem mentions two snaps of the beautiful woman kept in the speakers wallet such static images of women can also be seen in poems including Broadcast and Sunny Prestatyn, again lessen women to objects rather than living, breathing, accessible people.However, one must also take into count the social conventions of the time in which Larkin lived. He comments in Wild Oats that in those days it was faces that sparked/ the whole shooting-match off, indicating the restrictions and emphasis placed on courting. This consolidates the tone of sexual frustration that is implied in many of Larkins poems particularly the darker ones with their emphasis on male domination and female subservience. When viewed in this way, the collection as a whole- with its perspicacious emphasis on self-discovery and journeys through life seems to provide a replicate to Larkins experiences with women. One of Larkins lovers, Maeve Brennan, commented that, for Larkin at least, romantic distance isthe most desirable affinity one can have with a woman. Alternatively, therefore, the static photographs and freeze-frames refer enced in a number of the poems could symbolise either, in Rossens words a metaphor for not being able to communicate with or touch a woman, or even simply Larkins way of demonstrating and dealing with his affections.Therefore, Larkins portrayal of women in The Whitsun Weddings is complex and nuanced. On one hand, Larkin is often dismissive, even derisive at times, of women, characterising them as insignificant and inferior to men. This can clearly be seen in many of the poems in this collection, significantly in Afternoons, and Broadcast. At times, this dismissal moves into more blatant objectification and sadistic fantasy at the expense of the woman, although often with a slight hint of satire and self-parody, such as in Sunny Prestatyn and A Study of Reading Habits. However, we must also take into card the fact that women feature prominently in a variety of his works, fit the centre of his focus. Very often, there will be tender inside information which indicate a more sensitiv e side of the poet, such as the tiny hands, gloves and shoes in Broadcast. In this manner, the reader is shown that although Larkin can present a crude and unpalatable depiction of the female gender, equally he is able to present his underlying emotions in a stark, yet understated, way unique to himself.