Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Study of Reading Habits by Philip Larkin

At first the title of this poem presents itself to be a boring manuscript of how to have perfect reading habits, and then the author turns it around to be a humorous poem about the different stages in a man's adolescense. The first stanza:
When getting my nose in a book
Cured most things short of school,
It was worth ruining my eyes
To know I could still keep cool,
And deal out the old right hook
To dirty dogs twice my size
This first stanza reminds me of the early ages of a boy. When the boy first learns to read comic books and such to escape his elementary school life and still remain cool in his comic book fantasies. The boy obviously ruins his vision from reading so much and to remain in his fantasies, which will play a bigger role later in the poem.
In the second stanza:
Later, with inch-thick specs,
Evil was just my lark:
Me and my cloak and fangs
Had ripping times in the dark
The woman I clubbed with sex!
I broke then up like meringues.
From this stanza it shows the middle aged man. The reading stages a teenage through early days of a man goes from another comic book-more mature of course, to books about women and sex I am guessing. The man is now learning to please a mate and by doing this it may include learning how to cook (meringues).
In the third stanza:
Don't read much now: the dude
Who lets the girl down before
The hero arrives, the chap
Who's yellow and keeps the store,
Seem far too similar. Get stewed:
Books are a load of crap.
This stanza is the elder years of a man. The midlife crisis stage. This stage is when the man forgets about stories and reading and is hopeless in his life. Instead he turns to alcohol- "Get Stewed." The midlife crisis man thinks books are a load of crap. Some may assume this is how most men end up, some do some don't.
This poem was interesting, I liked the unusual way the poem was opposite of the title.

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