Analysis of Church Going

In: English and Literature

Submitted By aj11
Words 2874
Pages 12
Analysis of Philip Larkin's "Church Going" | Philip Larkin http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1074/1417827433_85ef38935a.jpg |

The theme of Philip Larkin’s poem “Church Going” is the erosion of religious abutments. Larkin is largely considered to be an atheist; however, he did live in a society that was predominantly Christian, so this poem is perhaps his way of trying to understand the attraction of religion. The narrator, who appears to be an atheist also, goes to a church, wanders around, and leaves unsatisfied. He doesn’t understand the allure of churches or religion, and wonders to himself when they will go out of fashion. He then goes on to imagine what they will be turned into once they do fall out of use. In the end, the narrator comes to the realization that religion and churches will never go out of style, because mankind has an innate need to believe in something greater than themselves.
This poem was written in 1954, and published in 1955. The rhythm of the poem is iambic tetrameter, and it has a strict rhyme of ababcadcd. The language of the poem is conversational, and the narrator poses many interrogatives (asks questions). Larkin uses a lot of religious imagery and words, some are used as they are intended, but others are used in a blasphemous way. Blasphemy is the act of expressing lack of reverence for God, but if one doesn’t believe in God can what they say really be considered blasphemy? That is just something to consider while reading the poem. The title can be interpreted in a few different ways: the act of going to church, the customs that keep the church alive, visiting the church as one would a theatre, and the disappearance of the church (Philip Larkin and Christianity).
Once I am sure there’s nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of…...

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