Afternoons: Poetry

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“Afternoons” by Philip Larkin expresses his point of view which I, the reader find disturbing. 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 develop different connotations of who Philip Larkin was and also deepens the readers understanding of the issue. Throughout the poem we see Larkin's rather cynical view of marriage and how he deals with the idea that the young mothers are isolated. The poets use of language emphasizes the recurring theme of emptiness within the young mothers and how regimented their lives have become.

The poet’s point of view is disturbing to the reader through seeing the themes involved in the poem. The main theme of time is seen throughout the poem and the three stanzas follow through time and show aspects of their life in the past, present and future. We see the present participle in stanza one through the phrase, “Summer is fading” which shows the high point in their year is disappearing. The past participle appears in the second stanza through words in the word set of time such as “Behind” and “Before” which shows the poet is looking back on the high points in his life. Because of this structure, you get the feeling that their life is dying with time and is dragging on and on against their will. And finally the third stanza is set in the future showing that the love will continue to die with time and with more children we have no free time. This leads us onto another theme of replacement which we see in the first and third Stanzas through phrases of “new recreation” meaning children and “Finding more unripe acorns.” Another theme in the poem is the theme of regimentation which appears in all three stanzas. “One’s and two’s” and “Assemble” both fit into this theme as both are aspects of force and...
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