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How does Philip Larkin

present death in

Presented to Sir Liaquat

Presented by Bushra Mumtaz

As Philip Larkin grew older, he became more and more obsessed
with the concept of death. Larkin was largely considered to be an
atheist; so for Larkin death didn't mean passing through the pearly
gates into heaven, instead death was an all-powerful entity that
could take you at any time to some unknown terrifying abyss. In
Larkin's poemAmbulances, he uses an ambulance to convey both
the loneliness of age and death, and the fact that death comes to
all, sooner or later. Ambulances are generally vehicles that are
associated with help and rescue, but in this poem the ambulance
is portrayed in an ominous light, in order to jar the reader's sense
of security. In this poem, the ambulance is in effect like the Grim
Reaper, who comes to collect souls and ferry's them into the

Death leading constant theme in Larkins poetry

Larkin was so obsessed with the concept of death that he has
been often called
a graveyard poet
Death is unpreventable. No trick dispels. (Aubade)
Death source of fear and fright in life.
- the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify. (Aubade)

Death a perpetual vehicle for our travel to eternity.

The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always, Not to be here
Not to be anywhere (Aubade)
Death gives chances to think and calculate our life and
its activities.
Larkin has got the stereotype feeling of an agnostic.
Death- not a gateway to heaven. Death is the ultimate
truth- our lives and activities are absurd (Albert Camus).

- no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with.

I dont want to transcend the commonplace, Larkin

told John Haffenden in 1981. I love the commonplace. I
lead a very commonplace life. Everyday things are
lovely to me. It makes sense that someone who so
loved everyday life would cling fiercely to life and fear
death so intensely. But by his mid-forties his fear of
becoming an old man seems to have helped turn him
into one. (His heavy drinking and steadily increasing
weight also contributed.) From then on his life slid
heavily downhill, both physically and emotionally.

Stanza 1
Larkin's uses the confessional to demonstrate the difference a generation
makes; the previous generation would have gone to church to heal themselves,
while the new generation with its new health care system went to hospitals;
thus, the ambulance becomes the modern day confessional. Confessionals are
enclosed stalls in a Roman Catholic Church in which priests hear confessions.
"Closed like confessionals" is a simile; the closed door of the confessional is
similar to the confined space of an ambulance when its doors are closed. Like a
confessional, an ambulance can be a very vulnerable place for its inhabitants;
you bear your soul in a confessional, and put your life/body in the hands of the
Closed like confessionals
Isolated areas, separate from normal flow of everyday activity.
Places of sanctuary and support. Death remains as unknown to us.

Loud noons, of cities, giving back

none of the glances they absorb.
Death is blatant and noticeable.
Present at the heart of human civilization.
Doesnt care how we react to it, although we are
obsessed with it.

Light glossy grey

Neither good nor evil, death simply is.
It is fitting that the ambulance is painted grey, because
ambulances often serve as the grey area between life
and death; some who enter the ambulance alive leave it
dead. The last two lines are particularly ominous; you
never know when it will be your turn to die, but rest
assured that one day it will be your turn to die. Death is
inevitable and all-powerful.

They come to us at any kerb, All

streets in time are visited.
Omnipotent. Death is a fact of life that all living things
must confront at some point.

Stanza 2
Then children strewn on steps or road, Or woman
coming from shops
Interrupts the normal activities of those within its
vicinity, and yet we are curious.

A wild white face that overtops Red

stretcher-blankets momentily
Death plays on a deep-rooted instinct, shown by
alliteration, wild and Red.
A brief event that occurs momently which can
drastically alter entire lives.

As it is carried in and stowed

Perhaps death itself is not the end, but a means to
voyage to somewhere else.

Stanza 3
Sense the solving emptiness That lies just under all we
do, And for a second get it whole
We try to forget death and keep at arms length, and yet
without it life would be meaningless

So permanent blank and true

Larkin was an atheist, and therefore did not believe in
an aftrerlife.
Of all things, death is certain.

Poor soul, they whisper at their own

We all fearful of what comes next
Some hope that a soul will live on
We fell bed for others as they represent our own

Deadened air
Death silences all those who are present, emphasizing
the shock that it causes us.
Kills the very air.

The years, the unique random

blend of families and fashions
An entire life is simply snuffed out. All the years are
meaningless in the face of power of death.

Far from the exchange of love to lie,

Unreachable inside a room
Death is something which must confront alone.
It is not something anyone alive can understand except
for those experiencing it.
Emphasized by the separation of Far/ From.

And dulls to distance all we are

Larkin concludes on the assumption that death is the
ultimate destruction, the dulling of our personality.
The end of the unique random blend.

Something secretive, unknown and varely seen

Stanze three
Receding or closing door are a metaphor
Suggest the end of the persons life is near
Deadend air, sudden shut, loss end
Creates a nair of sadness and hopelessness
Thewse words epitomizes wevery thingk larkin
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