Philip Larkin's Church Going Essay

1128 words - 5 pages

Philip Larking has a poem called Church Going written in an iambic pentameter consisting of seven stanzas, each including nine lines, of which the language is typical of Larkin - ordinary, conversational, and almost slangy. It talks about the relationship among people, religion and church. In this essay, I want to discuss the speaker's attitude toward religion and evaluate the poem, stanza by stanza. The poem explains the way how these relationships have become hackneyed to great extent, say, people do go to church without even pondering upon the reason to do so. In the first stanza, the speaker explains how cliché the entering to the church is and in the second stanza, he moves forward and ...view middle of the document...

After emphasizing on the repetitious nature of church goings in the above two stanzas, the speaker enters to the church in an amphoteric circumstances, he continues to say that these church goings have become futile since the churches themselves are made useless by the time of 1900s when people were somehow fed up with religion and its deputies like churches, priests, and nuns. He believes that churches will be reduced to small churches or authorities will change them into some tourist places, hence, these churches will be visited by tourists or their stones will be used as medical herbs for curing cancer, that is to say, churches have already lost their duties, unlike supposedly being a place for worshipping God, they have become a superstitious place for a group of people who do not care about God and religion. They just think that churches are a kind of tourism places that people are supposed to visit every Sunday and repeat some verses and look at the walls and come back and do the same next week. He complains about this situation of churches being meaningless.
In the fourth stanza, Larkin talks about the consequences of this indifference, especially in the last line, we see the word "grass", signifying the earth on which we are born; and "weedy pavement" - the path we must tread which is not smooth and full of brambles and thorns along the way; and "buttress" referring to the church and religion which grant us hope and strength to keep on going and "the sky" - heavens- our ultimate goal through all the struggle. He conjectures that by the whole system of religion including churches, people has been covered under the heavy dust of meaninglessness, that is to say, human beings have lost their spirituality and churches have lost their actual purpose for which they were built.
We have three stanzas up to the end of the poem, Larkin wants to put the last bullets into the dead corpse of religion in the time of 1900s, that is to say, this lack of belief in...

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