“How does Larkin write about marriage” essay question. In “the Whitish Weddings” and “self’s the man” we see Larkin portray the theme of marriage and relationships from an outside perspective like in many of his poems- in these two he is an outsider because he is unmarried. In both it seems clear that at face value he is cynical about the thought of being wed to another person. Martin Amiss described Larkin as a man who’s “values and attitudes were utterly, even fanatically negative” and it may seem obvious to some readers that this is true when observing “the Whitish Weddings”.
In the third stanza where the couples are first referenced, Larkin refers to the “noise” that these events create, and appears to do so in a negative way, suggesting they are disturbing him and Others in the carriage. In the same stanza, the poet says “the sun destroys the interest of what’s happening in the shade”- this metaphor is used to imply that the speaker is put off by the fact that weddings put the couple only in the spotlight, and other people around them are made unimportant, simply because they aren’t getting married.
A nubbins attitude is then adopted by the poet as we move into stanza 4: he appears to look down on the wedding crowd, using derogatory phrases such as “loud”, “fat” and wearing “jewelry substitutes”- this makes Amiss’ quote seem very true: even at one of the most joyful events, Larkin finds a way to be negative about it, as he looks down on the couples’ special day.
Perhaps the phrase that most clarifies the speakers opinion of being married is where he references it as “a religious wounding”- this instantly suggests Larrikin view on Ewing married as undesirable, and also confirms the thoughts of the poet on how marriage takes something away from a person, being a sort of “wounding”. Despite Larkin having an, on the surface, pessimistic view on marriage, when analyzing further, it becomes clear that he at least respects it in some way.
Hope for the future is an aspect of married life that Larkin values and he uses a detailed metaphor in the final stanza to portray this: “like an arrow-shower sent out of sight”. This arrow shower is unpredictable, like the future of all the married couples on the train, but full of hopes and reams for what might come of these couples in the future.
When looking at “a scene from married life” by Danni Base, it is clear that there are similarities between the two poets’ perspectives, the most significant being that both vaguely agree that marriage has massive difficulties, as Base shows in this poem by writing about an argument, “our own cold wars during the real Cold Wham’.