A Short Analysis of Philip Larkin’s ‘The Mower’

A critical reading of Larkin’s late poem

Philip Larkin wrote ‘The Mower’ in early summer 1979, and the poem was published in Humberside, the magazine of the Hull Literary Club, in autumn that same year. It’s the last truly great poem Larkin wrote, and, like many of his poems, takes a very simple everyday scene as its focus. And, like many of Larkin’s poems, death is one of its main themes. You can read ‘The Mower’ here; in this post we offer a few words of analysis of the poem.

‘The Mower’ was inspired by a real-life event: Larkin was mowing his lawn when he accidentally killed a hedgehog that had been hidden among the long grass, exactly as recounted in the poem. One couldn’t get more down-to-earth and everyday than a poet mowing the lawn. Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 5: ‘Those hours, that with gentle work’

A critical reading of a Shakespeare sonnet

Sonnet 5 in Shakespeare’s Sonnets, which begins ‘Those hours, that with gentle work did frame …’ is another ‘Procreation Sonnet’ – many of these sonnets might also be described as carpe diem or ‘seize the day’ poems. A brief analysis of Sonnet 5 follows below. In the poem, Shakespeare once again urges the Fair Youth to have children, because time, which has helped to fashion his beauty, will also rob him of it.

Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Will play the tyrants to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel;
For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter, and confounds him there;
Sap checked with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o’er-snowed and bareness every where: Read the rest of this entry

A Very Short Biography of George Bernard Shaw

The interesting life of the great playwright

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was a prolific writer of plays but also of essays justifying his plays: the two (double-columned) volumes of his Plays and Prefaces both stretch to over 1,000 pages. In this post, we’re going to attempt to distill his busy life into a very short biography – and, we hope, an interesting one – covering some of the most fascinating aspects of the man known variously as Bernard Shaw, George Bernard Shaw, or even just plain ‘GBS’. Read the rest of this entry