Larkin’s poetry is very commonly perceived as being highly negative and melancholic, with themes such as death and disappointment featuring frequently throughout. However when reading the Whitsun weddings you can’t help but feel that Larkin is simply creating a voice for our own personal worries and concerns.
Due to his sharp, perceptive observations on life and its many obstacles, we see that Larkin is not a miserable character, and the only reason he is perceived as being this way is because his poems within the Whitsun weddings are of death, disappointment and failing love and are stereotypically things we don’t want to hear but sadly are very true to life’s journey.
The collection works well as it creates a variety of mood and tone, never having two poems of the same theme next to each other. Larkin adopts the persona of the everyday man when narrating the poems and we see characters such as ‘Arnold’ in ‘Self’s the Man’ that are thoroughly unfulfilled in their lives. When reading the poems you can see how thought provoking they really are, as they sometimes read as warnings, such as ‘Mr Bleaney’ the ‘tale’ of a man who ‘warrants no better’ than a small, empty room where family do not visit. The protagonists created by Larkin are
Shocking, as the honesty and stark nature in which they are described makes you realise that, “that could be me if I choose to watch life rather than participate in it”.
A great collection of poetry written by a man commonly misunderstood because of his honest, tender and shocking observations on life, love and death. Larkin has his hands gripped firmly on reality and is massively aware and unafraid to express his worries, fears and concerns to others whether or not they are things one wants to hear.