Comparison between Afternoons and An Arundel Tomb

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Comparison between Afternoons and An Arundel Tomb
Both of Larkin’s poems explore the loss of identity however they do so in different contexts. ‘Afternoons’ depicts the continuation of life and subsequent passing of time through illustration of changing roles from a relatively carefree character to a young mother who must fully adopt this new identity and the life changes the title entails. ‘The leaves fall in ones and twos’ is representative of the gradual nature of this changing identity which contrasts to the relatively significant transition the young mother experiences. However ‘leaves’ is use of natural imagery therefore suggesting this shift of priorities to becoming a mother is hardly a rare, dramatic occurrence. ‘Our Wedding,
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Alternatively ‘Afternoons’ immediately begins with the pessimistic sentence ‘summer is fading’ which firstly depicts the somewhat saddening time as the positivity commonly associated with the warm season starts to disappear and head towards a darker time. This can be interpreted to represent the vanishing love between husband and wife as the ‘lovers’ change to ‘husbands in skilled trades’ and ‘young mothers’ which suggests the arrival of children to be burdening or disliked which is true to Larkin’s somewhat pessimistic style. ‘Behind them’ and ‘Before them’ are featured at the beginning and the end of the second stanza, implying a sense of entrapment experienced by the mothers as they’re unable to escape the mundane, domestic situation they now find themselves in therefore relating to the empty image illustrated by ‘the hollows of afternoons’
Larkin also comments on the future in the final stanza’s of both poems. In ‘An Arundel Tomb’ ‘what will survive us all is love’ implies that as long as the tomb endures then so with the couple’s love subsequently keeping them alive in people’s minds. In contrast to this optimism unusual for Larkin the quote may also suggest that the effigies are just that, there is no immortality provided by eternal love as they’ve still died and this predicament is a

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