Wasted life in Dockers and son BY Molls;Walls There is a quote by Helen Keller which states: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. ” I feel that this epitomizes what Larkin was portraying in the poem ‘Dockers and Son’; a feeling of regret and a wondering of what the ‘other door’ might hold. It could be seen that the older door of happiness is Larrikin youth: a time of freedom, when they could be ‘unembarrassed’ and live without responsibilities; unlike the duties that Larkin portrays parents as having In
Afternoons : “… An estate of washing… ” The fact that he Is looking at this old door so long represents how others’ lives have progressed, such as Dockers, who has had a child; whilst Larkin has remained free and childish – an “unhindered moon… ” We see the reference to the doors themselves In Dockers and Son when he “… Tried the door where [he] used to live/locked… ” The enjambment here emphasizes the fact that the door Is Inaccessible to Larkin, suggesting he realizes that he cannot change his past. The metaphor of the train is used throughout; “l catch my train” to symbolism his life, ND the track that he is on.
The sound of train tracks is rather monotonous, suggesting that Larrikin own life is restricted by a routine which is the same as when he was a child and at school. (It is interesting that he is restricted by routine, something he always criticized parents for being. ) The locked is also on a separate stanza to make it feel final ; as if Larkin has set a path for his life to follow till the end, there is a sense of finality in it. The reader can understand that Larkin has a moment where he regrets how little he has achieved when he refers to “The Lawn spreads glazing wide… The lawn perhaps is symbolic of lots of people, as if each blade of grass is a separate identity, and together they are resplendent (IEEE. He is stunned at the achievement of others. Achievements of blades deriving from the dazzling’, also carrying symbolism of fame and a spark. ) The fact that Larkin is ‘ignored’ shows that he has continued on his path, without achieving anything of note, and thus feels that he has wasted his life. Larkin continues this idea of a wasted life in ‘The Kiddies’. In the poem, the death of the pet – something most children experience – teaches them bout death and the fragility of life.
It is interesting that the children accept this death unaffectedly, yet in ‘Dockers and Son’ Larkin dwells on the wasted life of “… Cartridge, who was killed… ” Suggesting that the children are yet unaware of the potential that life has (as they themselves are but “unripe acorns”); whilst Larkin Is all too The reader can understand that Larkin has a moment where he regrets how little he has achieved when he refers to “The Lawn spreads dazzling wide… ” The lawn perhaps Is symbolic of lots of people, as If each blade of grass Is a separate Identity, ND together they are resplendent (be. E Is stunned at the achievement of others. Achievements of blades deriving from the ‘dazzling’, also carrying symbolism of fame and a spark. ) The fact that Larkin Is ‘Ignored’ shows that he has continued on his path, without achieving anything of note, and thus feels that he has wasted his life. Of how he could have wasted life in having “… No son, no wife, no house…. “. The repetition of ;no’ emphasizes all that Liking lacks, as opposed to what he has, supporting the idea that he feels he has achieved little. The Kiddies”s epigrammatic evolve“, creates a satirical theme; as if the rapid purchase of the pet for the children as a pacifier, has led the mother to overlook the significance that the pet is a microcosm of the children’s future lives and the death they will witness. This looks at the mother in a patronizing way, suggesting she is unobservant for not realizing this; supported by Larrikin view of women as ‘unskilled’ drains in Afternoons. In ‘Self’s the Man’, Larkin also devalues women by stating “… Married a woman… ” Suggesting that to be female is to be a figure for the use of men, as opposed to an individual.
Therefore the reader can gather that Larkin does not feel that he has wasted life in having ‘… No wife… ‘ as Dockers insinuates. The animals in ‘The Kiddies’ themselves could also be a metaphor for family life itself. In Larrikin other poems like ‘Afternoons’ and ‘Self’s the Man’ he explores how families restrict an individual, trapping them like caged animals into lives of routine: “something is pushing them to the sides of their own lives… ” The ‘something’ we presume to be children, unnamed as society is reluctant to admit they are a burden.
Paradoxically, it is obvious that the freedom of other animals, with “… Dark… Dam… Earth and grass” is similar to the freedom Larkin expresses as a single man in ‘Self’s the Man: ” ‘ … I’m the better man… ” Emphasizing the pessimistic view he has on family life. The imperatives used by the children ‘… Get us… ‘ shows how the parents become puppets for their children and are restricted, something that Larkin in Dockers and Son describes as a ‘habit’ which takes over their life: “hardening into all we’ve got… ” Implying the Larkin believes now that he has not wasted his life, but rather saved it.
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