In Westminster Abbey Analysis

1710 Words Apr 11th, 2013 7 Pages
Essay: “In Westminster Abbey”
“In Westminster Abbey” by John Betjeman is a poem that tells the story of a woman in a famous church in London and her prayer to the Lord. Each stanza in the poem contains something that the speaker wants from the Lord. And as one reads through the poem, a more keen understanding of the woman praying is formed, and it is likely drastically different from the original perception gained in the first two stanzas. In “In Westminster Abbey,” John Betjeman uses the speaker’s prayer and flaws in Christianity to illustrate to the reader that an individual is not always how they appear.
Considering the length of the poem, there is quite a bit of information told about the speaker’s identity and personality. Firstly,
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Although these things could be considered nice, they aren’t representative of the population. In a matter of one stanza, the image of the speaker the reader receives completely changes from the innocent wholesome churchgoer, to a self-interested pseudo-Christian who in times of trouble goes to the Lord in prayer expecting and demanding her safety, harm for the Germans, and a slew of other tasks. A person’s initial appearance is not always representative of their true nature. This is precisely the message intended to be received by the reader. John Betjeman is clearly separated from the speaker in the story. A main determining factor is that he is a male, and the speaker of the poem is female. The author seems to be expressing his personal beliefs and Christian ideals by creating the character in the poem who embodies almost the complete opposite ideology of the author. Even still, the poem appears a dramatic monologue. Writing in this style of lyric poetry allows John Betjeman to be completely removed from the poem and thus he gets his point across much more effectively. Had he done something like make the speaker a male, readers could falsely associate some of the elements of the poem with the author as opposed to considering them as an independent entity. The tone that is established by the time the conclusion of the poem reaches the forefront makes the reader want to analyze and judge the speaker,