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A Short Analysis of Philip Larkin’s ‘Toads’

A critical reading of an iconic Larkin poem

‘Toads’ is one of Philip Larkin’s most famous poems. When asked later in an interview how he came up with the idea for the toad as a metaphor for work, Larkin replied, ‘Sheer genius.’ He probably had his tongue in his cheek when he said this, but it is an inspired and instantly memorable analogy. Larkin wrote ‘Toads’ in 1954, and it was published a year later in his second collection, The Less Deceived. You can read ‘Toads’ here; what we’d like to do in this post is analyse Larkin’s poem and attempt to isolate what makes it so interesting. Read the rest of this entry