Thursday, May 10, 2007

Self's the man

Oh, no one can deny
That Arnold is less selfish than I.
He married a woman to stop her getting away
Now she's there all day,

And the money he gets for wasting his life on work
She takes as her perk
To pay for the kiddies' clobber and the drier
And the electric fire,

And when he finishes supper
Planning to have a read at the evening paper
It's Put a screw in this wall -
He has no time at all,

With the nippers to wheel round the houses
And the hall to paint in his old trousers
And that letter to her mother
Saying Won't you come for the summer.

To compare his life and mine
Makes me feel a swine:
Oh, no one can deny
That Arnold is less selfish than I.

But wait, not do fast:
Is there such a contrast?
He was out for his own ends
Not just pleasing his friends;

And if it was such a mistake,
He still did it for his own sake,
Playing his own game.
So he and I are the same,
Only I'm a better hand
At knowing what I can stand!

Philip Larkin

8 Comments:

Anonymous Noel S. said...

This poem could be used for the HSC as a text for inner journeys...

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last two lines of this poem are missing

"At knowing what I can stand
Without them sending a van -
Or I suppose I can"

These lines are important to the poem!!!!

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

darn right fool

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pleaaaase could you explain me what the last stanza means ????

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"only I have a better sense of what I can stand before they have to send a van to take me away to the funny farm."

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This poem's about Larkin's cynicism towards relationships and through the satirisation of marriage, he parallels the selfishness of partners and people who are single. What he is really trying do to is figure out whether or not he is worse of because he is alone. The last stanza is an indecisive finishing statement, something found in many Larkin poems (see Mr Bleaney) that basically makes you think he's reached the conclusion he's better off alone, then by saying 'or i suppose I can' he leaves this unclear.

That's my interpretation anyway. I studied Larkin at A-Level haha

11:33 AM  
Anonymous La├┐ser said...

I believe the end really is

"Only I'm a better hand
At knowing what I can stand
Without them sending a van
Or-I suppose I can."

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the significance of the title?

1:55 PM  

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