Mcmxiv Analysis Essay

“MCMXIV,” like all of Larkin’s poems, is characterized by clear, straightforward, unadorned language. Larkin is the best-known and most successful of a group of British poets from the 1950’s known as “The Movement” (other Movement poets include Robert Conquest, Kingsley Amis, and Donald Davie). All these poets used direct, plain language, which was deliberately chosen in rejection of the rich, melodic, metaphoric language of Dylan Thomas and the dense, allusive, intellectual language of T. S. Eliot. It was an appropriate language for the skeptical, unsentimental, sometimes hopeless worldview of their poems. Larkin, like other Movement authors, worked within a narrow emotional range, ironically noting the pain and dreariness of everyday experience that must be accepted.

When Larkin departs from his usual plain language, the effect is striking. In stanza 3, describing rural fields, he refers to “Domesday lines”: These are the boundaries between property first defined in 1086 by William the Conqueror and recorded in the Domesday Book. The historical reference is a jarring pun, since the Domesday Book is also known as the Doomsday Book. The men in Larkin’s photograph were taking their first step toward their doom.

That Larkin’s language is generally plain does not mean that he eschews metaphor entirely. The lines of men waiting to enlist in the British army are like lines waiting to see a cricket...

(The entire section is 418 words.)

Those long uneven lines

Standing as patiently

As if they were stretched outside

The Oval or Villa Park,

The crowns of hats, the sun

On moustached archaic faces

Grinning as if it were all

An August Bank Holiday lark;

And the shut shops, the bleached

Established names on the sunblinds,

The farthings and sovereigns,

And dark-clothed children at play

Called after kings and queens,

The tin advertisements

For cocoa and twist, and the pubs

Wide open all day;

And the countryside not caring

The place-names all hazed over

With flowering grasses, and fields

Shadowing Domesday lines

Under wheat’s restless silence;

The differently-dressed servants

With tiny rooms in huge houses,

The dust behind limousines;

Never such innocence,

Never before or since,

As changed itself to past

Without a word—the men

Leaving the gardens tidy,

The thousands of marriages

Lasting a little while longer:

Never such innocence again.

0 Replies to “Mcmxiv Analysis Essay”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *