This Be The Verse is a poem written by English poet Philip Larkin. It was first published in the Sunday Times Magazine in 1974 and later included in his collection of poems, High Windows (1974). As one of Larkin’s most famous works, This Be The Verse has been widely studied and discussed since its publication.
In this poem, Larkin discusses the idea that “they f*ck you up,” – meaning that our parents or family of origin can have lasting effects on us as adults. He goes on to argue that we should take responsibility for our own lives rather than blaming others for how they shaped us. This Be The Verse Analysis: The central theme of This Be The Verse is the notion that our families influence our development throughout life, whether consciously or subconsciously.
To illustrate this point, Larkin uses several examples to demonstrate how parental relationships can cause pain and suffer through neglect or abuse.
Here we see that even though life is not always perfect or easy and our parents can do us wrong sometimes, ultimately it is up to each person to deal with problems.
Lastly, comes the suggestion at the end of stanza three, where Larkin advises his audience – whoever that may be – not only by telling them what not to do but also by giving advice on how things should be done differently in order for them (and others) to live better lives overall.
The tone of Larkin’s poem is one that speaks to both the serious and humorous side of life. Throughout, he gives insight into some of the issues that parents can cause their children by not being present or providing “bad advice” (Larkin 3).
But at the same time, he does not take himself too seriously as he sets a lighthearted undertone through his rhymes and metaphors. The readers may find themselves laughing at this particular part due to its underlying humor while also recognizing it as advice.
From this perspective, Larkin is stating that our parents’ suffering and misery can be passed on to us. He suggests that, in order to end the cycle of passing on pain, we should halt procreation: “and so die with a thousand half-loved ones” (Larkin 11).
The poem ends with Larkin asserting how futile it would be to bring children into such a miserable world: “spend all your passion and grief in vain” (Larkin 12). In conclusion, Larkin’s message seems clear – it is best not to reproduce if you want your life to have any meaningful purpose.
The idea that life can be so mundane and dull is not only expressed in this poem but also in other works of Larkin. He paints a sad portrait of people living out their lives in the most robotic fashion possible.
There is no joy or passion for anything, just empty routines taking place day after day until death. This concept can be seen throughout his writing, especially within “This Be The Verse,” which serves as a warning against continuing to live such an uninspired existence by staying away from parenthood altogether if possible.
By the third stanza, readers are able to see that Larkin is now talking about how humans should treat each other. He writes: “Man hands on misery to man/It deepens like a coastal shelf” (Larkin 14-15). This shows that even though people have their own issues, they still must consider how those issues can affect others and try not to add more misery than necessary.
Throughout the text, the subject matter changes but does not diverge from its central theme of familial relationships and human interactions. In this way, Larkin is able to cover a wide range of topics in one poem without losing his initial point. As such, by reading through just four stanzas, readers gain an understanding of a complicated idea in an easily digestible manner.
Carriere argues that “Larkin’s advice is a gentle warning to children not to suffer from the same mistakes their parents made: he wants them to break away from the cycle of unhappiness and start anew” (Carriere 2012). This third stanza provides an optimistic ending, where Larkin offers his own wisdom for the future generation.
Finally, this poem does more than just criticize; it also gives hope for something better as well. As Commis states, “[Larkin] has transformed himself into an adviser or a concerned relative offering words of caution and wisdom” (Commis 2012).
Larkin’s solution to the problem of perpetuating a corrupted cycle can be seen as eerily similar to modern-day solutions. With the rise in teenage pregnancy and single-parent homes, many communities are offering contraceptives, sex education classes, and other resources for young people.
This is done in an attempt to provide them with better options than having children they may not be prepared or capable of raising properly. In some ways, Larkin’s poem gives voice to these same desires; that parents should think twice before bringing a child into this world if they cannot guarantee it will have all the care and attention a baby needs.
In the fourth stanza, Larkin presents an image of a couple “learning to accept their differences” (Carriere 2012). He paints a portrait of two people who have come together despite their different backgrounds and ages. It is through this acceptance that they are able to appreciate one another on a deeper level. This could be seen as the cornerstone for any meaningful relationship; the ability to look past flaws and embrace each other fully.
The fifth stanza brings in themes of gratitude, acknowledging that it takes strength to love someone so deeply and unconditionally. The narrator acknowledges his parents’ great pain but also recognizes how brave they were in choosing to stay together despite it all. In this way, he conveys how even though there may be no perfect couples, it still takes immense courage and commitment from both parties involved if true happiness is ever going to be achieved within any relationship.
The poem serves to warn the next generation of the potential harm that could come from parents who do not provide their children with guidance and love. The use of metaphors, imagery, and personification in this Philip Larkin This Be The Verse poem are skillfully weaved together to help one understand what Larkin wanted to say. By doing so, he was able to express his feelings about how misguided parenting affects generations for years on end.
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