For Larkin, hopes, dreams and ideals are ‘relentlessly diminished by the realities of life.’ (Peter King). How far do you agree with this statement in relation to Mr Bleaney?

Topics: Philip Larkin, Mr Bleaney, Hope Pages: 3 (1098 words) Published: December 2, 2013
Mr. Bleaney, by Phillip Larkin - For Larkin, hopes, dreams and ideals are ‘relentlessly diminished by the realities of life.’ (Peter King). How far do you agree with this statement in relation to Mr Bleaney? Peter King’s comment on Phillip Larkin’s novel is reasonable because Larkin’s main themes are about death and failure. It is possible to outline both sides of the argument and Larkin’s use of imagery and characterisation supports this. Larkin uses imagery to convey feelings of death, such as when Larkin says, “he was at the Bodies”, this has connotations of a place for dead people and it emphasizes the deprived and unappealing qualities of Mr. Bleaney’s surroundings. Larkin continues with this theme of the darker side of life when he describes the “sixty-watt bulb”. This relates to Mr. Bleaney’s room in a bitter, intimidating sense because a single “sixty-watt bulb” is what is found in a torture chamber or an interrogation room. This conveys his surroundings as being sinister and intolerable to any sense of hope. Larkin provides no evidence of Mr. Bleaney’s life improving and he only makes reference to deterioration. This sense of decay is referred to when Larkin writes, “stub my fags”, this refers to the constant pull of negativity on the character. His surroundings act as the main barrier for hope. Larkin describes the curtains as “thin and frayed”, this reflects the physique of Mr. Bleaney, emphasising the affect that his surroundings have on him. This idea of Mr. Bleaney being insubstantial is conveyed when the bed is described as “fusty”. Again, this probably has implications on Mr. Bleaney’s state having gone off and become “stale”. Characterisation is used to convey the tedious and unemotional aspects of the poem and this supports Peter King’s comment on the “hopes, dreams and ideals” being “relentlessly diminished”. Larkin makes reference to the cycle in people’s lives when he writes, “I lie where Mr. Bleaney lay”. This implies the inevitability of...
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