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Analysis of Aubade by Philip Larkin

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Joshua Juarez

on 7 April 2014

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Transcript of Analysis of Aubade by Philip Larkin

Analysis of Aubade by Philip Larkin
Title
An aubade is typically a poem that celebrates the arrival of dawn. An aubade can also be a morning love poem that often centers around two lovers parting at dawn. Dawn arrives in Larkin's "Aubade", but the speaker of Larkin's poem wakes up and watches day break by himself. Larkin uses the aubade form in an ironic way to emphasize the poem's theme of death's ultimate triumph over life similar to night's triumph over day.
Speaker
The speaker in "Aubade" is an individual whose drinking habits put them well outside the range of a social drinker. The individual may be depressed, but s/he is engaged with the bigger truths of life. Instead of attempting to cover them up with trivial pursuits; s/he faces them head-on.
Themes
A major theme in "Aubade" is death, the speaker's realization that everyone must die puts a damper on their daily life. The speaker states "...I see what's really always there: Unresting death, a whole day nearer now, Making all thought impossible but how and where and when I shall myself die", the speaker's statement makes it evident that s/he can not shake the gloomy feeling that with each passing minute, hour, and day pushes them closer and closer to their own demise.
Theme (cont.)
Death is a major theme in "Aubade" and naturally fear is another theme that co-exists with the theme of death in "Aubade". The speaker states that "This is a special way of being afraid No trick dispels" this shows that the speaker's fear is the kind of fear just sits there, impossible to ignore, making everything miserable. It is evident that the speaker is afraid of death when s/he states "…the dread Of dying, and being dead Flashes afresh to hold and horrify."
Themes (cont.)
Isolation is another major theme in "Aubade", the speaker refers to them self as "Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare". This makes it evident that the speaker most likely lives alone and does not share their life with someone else, or at least does not feel that way. The speaker states that the "realization of [death] rages out In furnace-fear when we are caught without People or drink" showing that they think that contact with other people, which they don't have, and alcohol helps to keep the fear of death at bay.
Occasion
The occasion of "Aubade" by Philip Larkin is the realization by the speaker that death, isolation, and fear are all commonalities that happen to every human and living being. The speaker makes this evident by stating "Unresting death, a whole day nearer now, Making all thought impossible but how And where and when I shall myself die."








Tone and Tone Shift
The tone in "Aubade" is apprehensive with ample amounts of depresssion, this is shown by the overall topic of the poem and Larkin's use of phrases such as "Arid interrogation: yet the dread Of dying, and being dead, Flashes afresh to hold and horrify". "Aubade" does not have a tone shift, the poem keeps it apprehensive tone throughout the poem.
Rhyme Scheme
Philip Larkin uses iambic pentameter in "Aubade" this is evident in line such as "I work all day, and get half-drunk at night". The iambic pentameter rhyme scheme contributes to the theme of monotony in life. The iambic pentameter breaks in the line "And where and when I shall myself die", having two stressed syllables in a row mirrors the speaker's feeling when he realizes death is looming. Larkin reinforces the death theme with the line "of dying and being dead", which has an anapestic foot between two iambs representing death itself.
Questions
1. What is a theme in "Aubade"?
A. Death
B. Isolation
C. Fear
D. Dissatisfaction
E. All of the above
2. What rhyme scheme is used in "Aubade"?
A. Iambic Pentameter
B. Iambic Tetrameter
C. Iambic Hexameter
D. Iambic Heptameter
E. Iambic Dimeter
3. The attitude of the speaker can be interpreted as?
A. Depressed
B. Joyful
C. Content
D. Humorous
E. None of the above

The speaker describes death as all of the following except ?
A. No different whined at than withstood
B. The anaesthetic from which none come around
C. The sure extinction what we travel to
D. Most things never happen: this one will
E. The sky is white as clay, with no sun
What is the rhyme scheme in "Aubade"?
A. ABABCCDEED
B. ABABCDCDEE
C. ABBACDDCEE
D. ABACDDCEE
E. None of the above
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