Topics: The Passage, Playground, The Conclusion / Pages: 3 (735 words) / Published: Apr 6th, 2014
Personal Response
The title of the poem suggests that it will deal with something fairly ordinary.
Note use of plural – many afternoons – not just one. Routine/monotonous/dreary
First line of poem sets scene at end of summer/ continued in leaves falling from trees to show beginning of autumn.
‘Summer is fading.’

Seasons of year often used as symbols of stages in life – suggestion that mothers are growing older. Use of ‘fading’ – growing dimmer/less beautiful/ vanishing – like the mother’s beauty. Connected to first line of poem.
Larkin sets the poem in a very ordinary playground – newly built
‘The new recreation ground’

Yet, connotations of ‘re-creation’ – birth/new life

Larkin observes the mothers allowing their children to play on the playground equipment – very ordinary scene
‘In the hollows of afternoons
Young mothers assemble
At swing and sandpit
Setting free their children.’
Larkin’s description of the scene suggests through word choice that the mothers’ lives are uninteresting – ‘hollow’ suggests emptiness; ‘assemble’ suggests routine; ‘setting free’ suggests young mothers are trapped in this unexciting existence. Enjambment used to link all ideas.

Larkin reflects on the lives of the young mothers and suggest that these are uneventful – husbands are tradesmen
‘Behind them, at intervals,
Stand husbands in skilled trades,’

Larkin is quite disparaging about their husbands – these are not professionals – they are ‘skilled’ – very boring/dull yet also steady; use of ‘at intervals’ suggests a distance between the women and their men – possible emotional distance. These are effects of passage of time.
Ordinary, humdrum tasks now fill/have taken over the lives of young mothers
‘An estateful of washing’
In one word (economy of language) - ‘estateful’ – the amount of washing (ordinary household tasks) that has to be dealt with is conveyed –

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