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Comparative Analysis Of Ariel By Sylvia Plath And The Whitsun Weddings By Phillip Larkin

741 words - 3 pages

Plath in Ariel and Larkin in The Whitsun Weddings both explore ideas about love and relationships. The Whitsun Weddings explores the theme of love and relationships by capturing the journey that takes place prior to marriage; the poem was written about Larkin’s observation of marriage parties on whit Sunday (now known as May Day) which was a public holiday and was traditionally the day on which people would get married. The Whitsun Weddings takes on a somewhat cynical tone which is emblematic of Larkin’s negative views regarding marriage and long term relationships. The Applicant by Plath presents the reader with a critique of marriage by depicting the selection process that men and women ...view middle of the document...

The persona then reduces this individual down to his physical characteristics:
“A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,
A brace or a hook
Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch”
All of the words listed in the quote are false body parts and are seen as deficiencies that may mean said man may not be eligible for marriage. This quote demonstrates the superficial nature of marriage and its lack of true meaning. The use of anatomical imagery gives the poem an eerie aspect and leads the reader to wonder whether marriage is really about love or in fact about meeting a set criteria and conforming to society’s view on acceptable relationships which during the sixties was somewhat narrow, although it was post sexual revolution there was still a lot more work to be done in terms of eradicating stigma. The use of the first person plural “our” in the first line suggests to the reader that the persona is not one entity but perhaps, the voice and the collective conscience of society. In the Whitsun Weddings Larkin documents his observations whilst aboard a train on Whit Sunday (a day on which it was common for people to get...

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