Phillip Larkin: Poet of Grey Moods, Suburban Melancholy, and Accepted Regrets

Pages: 3 (895 words) Published: June 24, 2013
The statement “Larkin is a poet of grey moods, suburban melancholy and accepted regrets.” Is accurate and appropriate when looking at and reading his poetry. This is displayed through his various poems, including the ones I’m going to talk about; ‘Aubade’ and ‘The Whitsun Weddings.’ Both of which portray all three themes.

The poem Aubade as a whole represents these three themes through the constant use of truncation in poem at the end of every stanza. The poem itself also represents the themes as ‘Aubade’ is about mourning the life we have in preparation for death, which in its irony comes under the first theme of grey moods.

More specifically to the theme of grey moods within Aubade is through the quote, “I work all day, and get half drunk at night. /Waking at four to soundless dark. I stare” As this is in the opening stanza it sets the tone of the poem and portrays Larkin’s particular mindset. The monosyllabic language emphasises his reluctance in engaging in daily life as well as his depression. “Soundless dark,” being an allusion to death it portrays to the reader a certain outlook Larkin has on life due to these moods.

The next quote to represent grey moods shows a pragmatic outlook Larkin has on life and thoughts. “Making all thought impossible but how / and where and when I shall myself die.” This quote from the poem is truncated to emphasise the inevitability of death itself. This quote yet again shows the outlook he has on life and the particular mindset Larkin is in which is largely influences his moods.

Suburban melancholy is another theme represented throughout various poems written by Larkin, including ‘Aubade.’ Throughout this poem despondent outlooks on life is shown for example in this quote, ‘meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring / in locked up offices.” The personification effectively represents his distaste for life, working and daily duties again reiterating that the poem is about mourning life in preparation for...
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