Snaith// Afternoons (15 marks)


Afternoons is a poem about love. Write about how the poet explores this theme (15)

Larkin uses the poem Afternoons as a social comment on the issue of the generational cycle that results in presenting young mothers who have been trapped and stripped of their personal identity through inadequate marriages. The era of the poem is set in the 1950’s and early 60’s, however the message is still carried with significance in the current 21st century; events of marriage destroying ‘beauty’ and youthful pleasures, are still as relevant today. 

Larkin allows his attitude to be apparent throughout the course of the poem by consistently placing negative vocabulary paired with a simple semantic field. The aggressive use of verbs, ‘pushing’, exemplifies the loss of love grouped with ‘ruining’ which reinforces the idea that the love is not the same and the initial impressions of marriage has betrayed them. This highlights particularly how women become the less important factor of their own lives, allowing their time and minds to become consumed by a dull and domestic existence; Larkin explores love by showing how a woman loses herself through marriage inferring it is a commitment to be avoided.

The exploration continues through Larkin’s use of regular, negative vocabulary. The use of these is continuous throughout the poem as it lends to keep a running theme of


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