'Toads' and 'Toads Revisited' Comparison (Philip Larkin)

Topics: Rhyme, Poetry, Half rhyme Pages: 3 (1858 words) Published: October 8, 2014
Toads and Toads Revisited are poems in Philip Larkin’s collection that describes both the perks and burdens of a work life. Larkin’s view of work in ‘Toads’ is seen as a heavy load whereas in ‘Toads Revisited’, it is seen as something that keeps him occupied and helps him though life. ‘Toads Revisited’ was written after Larkin became a firmly established chief librarian of the Hull Library and he had no further to go because he had already reached the top position. His attitude to work had undergone subtle changes from eight years ago to Toads Revisited. In this poem, Larkin has managed to escape from the monotony of his desk, perhaps during lunch or break. He takes a walk around the park where he observes and sees more than he expects which triggers memories of the toad that used to squat on him. Written eight years apart, the two poems reflect a sense of loneliness combined with the change in Larkin’s attitude towards work and how it helped him later in life rather than hinder him. In ‘Toads’, Larkin opens with a rhetorical question with an image of an unpleasant toad squatting on his life. ‘Squatting’ is an unsophisticated and an almost primitive position to be in. Larkin compares the work load he gets with a ‘toad’ which squats on his life as if to defecate on him and ‘waste’ his time. The use of a simile in using his ‘wit as a pitchfork’ suggests an idea of poking to toad to try and get it to move from his life. The toad is described as a ‘brute’ who bullies him by giving him loads of work just to make his life miserable. The idea of him working six days a week and only having one day off for rest indicates how this was a long time ago where people worked longer. The sibilance in the first two lines of the second stanza suggests a hissing sound over his life and the slyness of the toad. The hyphen indicates a sudden halt where he contemplates the fact that he has been poisoned with work by this toad. Juxtaposition is incorporated in the second stanza....
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