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Philip Larkin

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Added by: anonymous
Ignorance’ cuts to the heart of the collection’s doubtfulness about the future. Larkin comments on how strange it is ‘never to be sure / Of what is true or right or real’. This, and the question about death in the last stanza, point to religious doubt – Larkin was an agnostic – but also social uncertainty. The second stanza, which describes ignorance of ‘the way things work’ (a vague subject) ‘their sense of shape, and punctual spread of seed’ suggests again Larkin as an observer, noting others’ instinctive identity and reproduction, but unable to participate without questioning these. The body (‘flesh’) is predetermined, but the reason for life remains a mystery.

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