Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Philip working at Wellington public library, he was

Philip Arthur Larkin (1922-1985) was an English prominent postwar poet,
novelist and librarian. He is considered as one of the major English poets of
the 1950s, if not the greatest one. He was born on August 9, 1922 in Coventry, England. He graduated from king
Henry VIII Grammar School, then Saint John’s College,
Oxford. During his lifetime, he worked in a couple of libraries as a librarian.
During the years of working at Wellington public library, he was also studying
to get a professional librarian’s qualifications, while he also continued writing
and publishing. At the age of 23 he published his first collection of books
”The North Ship”. Later on he wrote 2 novels ”Jill” and ”A Girl in
Winter” and decided to focus on poetry and at the age of 35 Larkin published
his second collection of books – ”The Less Deceived”, which was the one that
made him quite famous. The other two collections of poems were published in
1964 (”The Withsun Weddings”) and 1974 (”High Windows”).

It is a well
known fact that Philip Larkin is considered a pessimistic poet because of several
reasons. He was a realist poet. He didn’t believe in God’s existence and life
after death. He often hard time to find comfort and relief. He also had some
health and family problems. Thus, because of these facts, majority of his poems
are based on pessimistic sense. Alienation and isolation are very important and dominant pessimistic
themes often found in Philip Larkin’s poetry. In his poems we can see people,
who seem to be not strongly connected with the surroundings, they are kind of
alienated and isolated from the world. And, as we know, in most of his poems
the speaker is the author himself.

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Isolation in ‘Mr.
Bleaney’

One of the most important
themes of ‘Mr. Bleaney’ is isolation. The poem starts with the description of a
room in a house known as “The Bodies” and the description of an imaginary
figure Mr. Bleaney’s who previously lived in that room.

This was Mr Bleaney’s
room. He stayed
The whole time he was at the Bodies, till
They moved him. Flowered curtains, thin and frayed,
Fall to within five inches of the sill,

 Later on he left the room ( presumably died)
and now another man (probably the author himself) wants to rent the room and
the landlady is showing around and speaking about a lot of details about Mr.
Bleaney’s monotonous and isolated life in that room. From the descriptions we
can figure out how the room looks like. The room where Mr. Bleaney lived is
rather poor. The room has old and worn-out curtains, which are shorter than
were supposed to be for that particular window. From the window you can see not
really impressive and appealing view which includs some buildings and a small
land. The landlady tells the speaker that Mr. Bleaney would also take care of
her small garden probably hoping that the new lodger will also do that. There
is only one bed and one chair in the room. “The flowered curtains thin and
frayed” means that the room is dark and gloomy. 
“No room for books or bags” means that there is even no place for any
personal item. So we have an image of an empty room with quite boring and dull
atmosphere. In spite of all the problems and disadvantages, the speaker decided
to take the room and live there. Mr. Bleaney, the imaginary figure, is supposed
to be a shabby person, as the shabby room without any adequate furniture or
living circumstances . So, we also realize that this is an image of an ambitionless
person, who, in spite of his age, not only did not have his own place to live
but also had no money and possibility to live in a nice rented house. So, he
was living alone  in this room, he didn’t
have any friend or family member by his side. The author expresses great
empathy towards Mr. Bleaney who was lonely and isolated, deprived of any
possessions. “No more to show than one hired box”  implies his loneliness and “one hired box”
refers to a coffin. He is so lonely that the only relationship that he can
possibly have, is with the landlady. Under some circumstances he is unable to
have control over the situation, he can’t change to a better life. It is
obvious that the person living in that room is supposed to be an isolated
person and an unimportant member of the society. It is all about loneliness and
emptiness of human life.
There is the atmosphere of despair created by Mr. Bleaney’s character. The name
Mr. Bleaney is quite neutral with no strong syllables. It also puts his identity under
question. His life wasn’t stimulating at all, moving from one room to another
and “enjoying” his loneliness.

Philip Larkin would often have dismissive attitude towards everything
around him and with the help of some of his poems he tried to show the
isolation and alienation that people can experience. “The Whitsun Weddings” (Whitsun
Sunday is the seventh Sunday after Christmas) is one of Larkin’s poems which
expresses some sense of alienation. The poem starts with a description of a
train journey to London. At the beginning of the journey the train was
three-quarters empty. The train starts and he begins to pay attention to the
scenery beyond the windows. He describes the towns and villages he sees from
the window- houses, fish-docks,

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