Philip Larkin’s ‘Aubade’: Imagery Analysis
The narrator is attempting to grasp his or her fear of death in Philip Larkin’s poem ‘Aubade.’ It is once he or she understands the truth of death that he or she may learn how to live. Through the movement of each stanza, the narrator makes a progression of thought to defeat his or her fear of death. Larkin’s use of imagery displays death as a constant in the back of our minds. Death is presented as a fear that cannot be escaped. According to the Oxford English Dictionary Larkin’s title, ‘Aubade’ refers to a song announcing the arrival of dawn. When the sun sets, the narrator illustrates death as an inevitable force. Dawn is announced as the vanishing of all fears regarding death.
In the first stanza, Larkin introduces character and setting in his poem ‘Aubade.’ “I work all day, and get half-drunk at night” (1). Our narrator lies in bed consumed by thoughts and fears of death. Night is the introduction of fears: “Making all thought impossible but how/And where and when I shall myself die” (6-7) He admits that when he is lying in bed, unable to sleep it is all he can think of. His mind has become a constant set of interrogations. Our narrator, through his darkness presents a sliver of hope: “An only life can take so long to climb/Clear of its wrong beginnings” (14-15) describes our life before death and the path we take in order to change a beginning which has already been decided for us. This is quickly vanished with the thought that “[t]he sure extinction that we travel to” (17) is death. Thoughts of death are an aspect of the narrator’s life that appears to be recurring. Every night his mind is filled with the dreadful thoughts of death that seem to pin his mind
It is tempting to block our views on painful thoughts by looking for a better alternative to the problem. Larkin, through our narrator is mocking religion’s...