Afternoons by Philip Larkin Essays

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Afternoons by Philip Larkin.

A poem which reflects on the subject of marriage is 'Afternoons' by
Philip Larkin. The poem deals with Larkin's view on young mothers watching their kids playing in a playground and on this he concludes that marrying young and having children young, lead to the mothers losing their identity and destiny. The techniques used by the poet such as theme, imagery and tone deepened my understanding of the issue. The structure of the poem is simple; there are three stanzas with eight lines in each. However, unlike every other poem by Larkin this layout has no direct meaning. The lines are unrhymed. The first stanza deals with Larkin's rather cynical view of marriage and deals with the idea that the
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By using the idea of wind in the poem, Larkin is able to add his own personal views. The wind acts as an idea of change. This is continued moreover in the third stanza via the use of enjambement. This enables
Larkin to carry on and develop his point.

Larkin's use of imagery is very effective. The 'courting places' which were once used by the young mothers are changing but so are their children. The 'courting places' are still being used, however, the people of whom should be using them now have the burden of children and can no longer have the fun this place entails. The 'unripe acorns' as described by Larkin, are the children who are 'still in school'.
This implies Larkin, as an outsider observing and looking in, believes that as generations pass romance is lost further and that people have children far to young. The children within the school are not mature enough to realise what 'courting' means. A grim humour is assumed when the reader realises these children still have a future wereas the young mothers do not.The tone of the poem has become increasingly more cynical. Larkin refers to how regimented the mothers lives are again when they are 'expected' to pick up their children from school. The women have changed immensely with the pressures and responsibilities that the child has brought, they are putting on weight and losing their looks, probably due to having the children. 'Their beauty has thickened'.
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