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Church Going

Church Going

by Philip Larkin

Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub (46-48)

The "ghostly silt" of these lines refers a type of fine sand usually left as sediment by a river. But here it symbolizes the faith that has been built up in religion over many centuries. The fact that this belief is "dispersed" suggests that it no longer has the power it once did, and yet the speaker keeps venturing through "suburb scrub" for the sake of going to the church. Scrub refers to wild growths of bushes and small trees that are usually tangled and disorganized. The fact that the poem associates scrub with the suburbs suggests a certain lack of meaning or order in modern life, which is more like a tangle of confused impulses than any meaningful ordered experience.

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