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The Trees Philip Larkin 154.

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1 The Trees Philip Larkin 154

2 Philip Larkin  Born 1922 – died 1985 of throat cancer  Had a stammer as a young child.  Graduated from Oxford university in 1943 and became a librarian.  He was offered, but declined the position of Poet Laureate in  Known for having “glum-accuracy” in his poetry, and often including ideas of death and fatalism.

3 Overview of The Trees Relates the life of trees to human experience. Trees dying and coming into leaf every year parallels the idea of humans overcoming their mistakes and starting new chapters of their life. But that like in rings of grain in trees, the marks of past experiences still remain as memories. Shows that each chapter contains it own trials and tribulations. Hiding age

4 The trees are coming into leaf Like something almost being said; The recent buds relax and spread, Their greenness is a kind of grief. Beginning of new life similie Trees are communicating, making a statement personification Message is so clear to the speaker that The trees seem almost human Recent-new and not yet solidified ideals. Grieving the loss of a past life Releasing tension of old memories

5 Is it that they are born again And we grow old? No, they die too. Their yearly trick of looking new Is written down in rings of grain. Deception. Only appear to be young, link with the human tendency to pretend to be okay. A cycle/pattern. Happens again and again. personification Old age? Or death of emotions. Possessive – belongs to the trees. ‘Trick’ is inaccessible to humans. Recorded forever, previous lives leave marks. Humans - a habit of hiding their emotions but they are still there.

6 Yet still the unresting castles thresh – 9 syllables In fullgrown thickness every May. Last year is dead, they seem to say, Begin afresh, afresh, afresh. Shows the speaker is about to change the tone in this stanza. Ongoing, more emphasis on the second syllable. Majestic, everlasting. Springtime – new life Gone, over, done with Onomatopoeia – afresh, repetition of ‘ss’ and ‘sh’ sound.

7 Form  A-B-B-A rhyme scheme – reflects the idea of life beginning over again.  8 syllables per line excluding line 9 which has 9 syllables.  8 is traditionally a symbol of infinity, which connects to the theme of an on going cycle of life.

8 Language  Written in 3 rd Person, shows how people are detached from the natural world. Or that the trees are keeping secrets and we are excluded. “Their yearly trick of looking new”  Personification of the trees – by personifying the trees, people can relate the experience of the trees back to their own experiences.  Repetition of “afresh” echoes the idea of a cycle. (note: onomatopoeia).

9 Tone/Theme  Overcoming all obstacles, moving forward, not grieving for the past, loss, ageing.  Teaching us a lesson, of how to learn from trees and their ability to lose their leaves and begin anew. “afresh”  “their yearly trick of looking new”- idea of hiding their pain.  3 rd stanza – first line has 9 syllables shows a change in tone, from loss to acceptance.

10 Comparisons Loss  One Art – Elizabeth Bishop  From The Triumph of Time – A.C.Swinburne  A Dream – William Allingham Nature  The Trees are Down – Charlotte Mew


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