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by Philip Larkin

Aubade Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. "Aubade" was written in iambic pentameter with a regular rhyme scheme, and the poem consists of 5, 10-line stanzas. Does this structure reflect the poem's central theme, the inevitability of death? If yes, how? If no, why not?
  2. There's no doubt that this poem is a bummer. Besides the fact that it's about death, what else makes this one such a downer? (Hint: consider things like imagery and structure.)
  3. Imagine you had to write a poem that contradicts "Aubade," a poem that celebrates life and all it has to offer. What would the poem look like? Would it be short or long? How would the imagery be different from Larkin's poem? Is there any aspect of "Aubade" that would still work in a positive, life-affirming poem? 
  4. Which rhymes did you find the most surprising or interesting? Why? Did the rhymes emphasize some aspect of the lines' meaning? If so, how?

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