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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Despite the really conversational tone of the speaker, "Church Going" uses very a good deal of iambic pentameter and a regular rhyme scheme. The tone of the speaker is so conversational, in fact, t...

Speaker

The speaker in this poem is a guy who doesn't know all that much about churches and religion or any of that kind of stuff. You can tell this from the way he clumsily enters the church doesn't reall...

Setting

Throughout the poem, the speaker focuses very closely on his setting. The irony and wit of the poem, however, comes from the fact that the speaker doesn't focus on any of the things he's supposed t...

Sound Check

All in all, the poem sounds conversational, as though the speaker is just talking to us. Larkin is really good at making highly crafted language sound casual and almost spontaneous. He doesn't leav...

What's Up With the Title?

"Church Going" seems like a very simple and straightforward title, just as the poem itself seems to be simple and straightforward. On the most literal level, it refers to the way that regular "chur...

Calling Card

"Church Going" contains several features that have Philip Larkin written all over them. First, there's his witty, ironic way of approaching a very serious subject. There's also his conversational t...

Tough-o-Meter

Getting at Larkin's deeper themes might take some digging, but on the level of language, there's not much in this poem to make you scratch your head. When you consider that Larkin's poetry was appe...

Trivia

Don't quit your day job, buddy. Larkin worked as a librarian for more than 40 years, writing on the side. That's some serious staying power. (Source.) It may not surprise you, but Larkin was kind o...

Steaminess Rating

Larkin is definitely not above talking about sex inside a church, but he doesn't happen to do it in "Church Going." There's not even so much as a sexy euphemism in this poem. Larkin's concerns here...

Allusions

Anglican church service: Though it has been since been updated, the religious services in the Church of England of Larkin's time (with which would have been pretty familiar) used to end with the ph...
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