Setting in Mr Bleany

Essay by razkou14 September 2014

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The poem "Mr Bleaney" by Philip Larkin was written in 1955, when the Second World War was still in everybody's mind. It's about a man (probably the poet himself), who rents a room and thinks of the person who was in there before him, Mr Bleany. Mr Bleany is obviously dead (reference to past tense suggests this) and the writer describe him through the description of the room he lived in. This is why setting is very important in this poem, and it is used to represent Mr Bleany's personality. In this essay I will be discussing the importance of the setting.

In the poem, Larkin explores the setting of this old room, still ever present with the spirit and legacy of the old occupant. Larkin presents setting as an extremely reclusive place which has an everlasting and overpowering effect on the persona, making him very agoraphobic. The repetitive and constant 'ABAB' rhyme scheme throughout this poem hints at the continual and dull life the person leads, being forced to live a constant, boring life sculpted by Mr Bleany's previous existence.

In the first stanza the poet refers to curtains as thin and frayed: "flowered curtains, thin and frayed". This defeats the purpose of curtains, in the same way as Mr Bleany defeats the purpose of life. Different people have different perspective of life, However Mr Bleany's life doesn't really have a purpose, it is meaningless…like the curtains. Also the curtains were "flowered", you wouldn't expect an old man to have flowered curtains and that's how we first discover that his room is not designed as according to his personality and this becomes more obvious as we read through the poem. Also if his curtains weren't thick then that must mean that, he didn't have much privacy in...