Philip Larkin poem comparison

1150 WordsSep 8, 20145 Pages
How does Philip Larkin explore the role of women in at least two poems you have studied? Philip Larkin’s relationships with women are often scrutinized in the media. He was often accused of misogyny and never married, though had several prominent relationships. Having once said, “Sex means nothing – just the moment of ecstasy, that flares and dies in minutes”, one could infer that Larkin had a dismissive attitude towards sexual relationships. Two poems from the Whitsun Weddings collection, Wild Oats (a recount of a man’s encounters with two women) and Sunny Prestatyn, (the description of the defacement of a poster) explore different attitudes towards women, and I will be drawing also from A Study of Reading Habits. Common themes in…show more content…
The word “hunk” presents a masculine theme and shows that men will find this resort attractive. The further description of a hotel “expanding from her thighs”, presents to the reader that the woman is being sexualized. The second stanza, describing the defacement of the poster in the period of a fortnight, including being made “snaggle-toothed and boss-eyed”, ultimately implies that beauty is transitory. In the third stanza, there is the actual removal of the poster, leaving “only a hand and some blue”. This signifies that the poster was trivial and can be physically broken. Finally, the last line describes another poster, “Fight Cancer”, being put up which further trivialises the poster, as it was replaced so easily. The dark message created is that injustice against women can be easily looked over. Larkin demonstrates this also in A Study of Reading Habits; the women are broken up like “meringues”. Women are presented as being easily disposable, as food is. Another similarity in the imagery between these two poems is the implication of women’s innocence; white is projected into the reader’s mind by the meringues, and again in Sunny Prestatyn by the “tautened white satin” worn by the woman. The rhyming of “white satin” and “Prestatyn” put the town in a positive light, but also creates a gentle rhythm, juxtaposed by the dark tone created by the same rhythm in the following stanzas. The imagery given in these two poems of a woman as
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