In this poem Larking calls work something as repulsive as a toad. He wishes to get rid of its clutches. The work has killed his creativity and he feels imprisoned. Larkin rues the fact that he does not have the courage to quit the job because he fears insecurity. He is afraid of losing the comforts of his present life.
“ Just for paying a few bills”
Larking looks very pessimistic to work because through this poem he says that work isn’t a factor that helps in self-realisation, but in fact makes the worker suffer from his condition.
Therefore Philip Larkin explains the same idea of Grint. Namely in his book Grint explains the theory of Marx: “The capitalism inverted the world of work and turned it against him”.
Expressing that the worker feels locked up in the world of work and like said before suffers from it.
Grint also refers to Work and Christianity in his book. In the poem we find the following back:
“I don’t say, one bodies the other
One spiritual truth "
Where Larking tries to involve Christianity in his poem.
Grint and Power and work:
He describes that work empowers the workers. Larkin describes just the same thing in his poem when he
When we have a look at the language being used in the poem, we see a lot of onomatopoeic words being used. Toads – squats – nippers – whippet, are all words that refer to animalism. We find this back in Grint when he is talking about the power of the employers over the employees. They feel like animals because they are treated that way.
It is not the poet simply trying to depict a cruel Dickensian employer- she is judging herself; society- questioning how we judge ourselves and each other!
As we found out through reading some extra background of the poet her life, we noticed that she is a real feminist.
During the time when she wrote the poem, it was very hard for women to find work. Unemployment was high underneath the female gender.
As we read in Mallia Mallia it was being said that the women didn’t care much for work after schooling. Their job was to take care of the family and that the men should go to work.
She is implying that whenever the women went for a job interview, that it is a lot more harder on them to qualify. Women should stand up to these procedures and take the right to work as well, besides the housework.
We assume that she is defending herself and her profession/ qualifications too. We don’t know whether her being a writer was being excepted in that time.
Moreover we don’t know whether she is talking about a woman or a man in her poem. But because of her background and the words being used in the poem we consider it to be a female.
References to Grint we say that the work became life. (The employer asks things about (her) the employee’s life.)
ð Qualities, qualifications, immaturity, looks, appearance, accent, education
ð The person asks during the interview (job interview) a lot about his personal life. So work and personal life are being mixed
In Grint’s introduction we read that there are 4 areas, 4 assumptions that that guide all the book. The first one (The denial of the supremacy of labour process, separated from home and all else) is contra dictionary with this poem.
We find this is a humorous poem with a serious point. It explores the numerous reasons why people are found unsuitable for the jobs they have applied for. The speaker of the poem is the employer (who stands for all employers) who addresses the interviewee. The poem proceeds by way of a number of questions, the kind that are asked at interview. The interviewee, however, never answers - the implication is that the interviewee is powerless. The tone of voice used is rather pompous and patronising. The employer will find any excuse not to give the applicant a job - their age, education, appearance, even the fact that they were ever born. We suppose the poem has an underlying sympathy for those who cannot find a job and that employers can always find a reason for rejecting someone.
Therefore it refers to almost the entire first chapter of Grint’s book. To name a few main titles, power and work, unemployment, work and social class…
Starting wit references to Grint we see that in complaint we have work and power:
“Yet still my master makes me work.”
The worker in this poem is being treated like an animal. He is sore all over the place but still he has to continuum to work for his master.
Something else we find back in the poem Grint mentioned we trace back on page 9, Historical rhetorics of work: views from above and below, is that in this case the word ‘work’ is like the Hebrew significance, avodah, what means slave.
We consider that the body of the sweeper is a symbol for the work he’s doing.
If we think back in history we know that infants were being used and even abused to do this kind of work. They were small, little and fitted through the chimney.
Therefore we think that the child talks to us through this poem.
On page 10 Grint refers to work as a word coming from all sorts of languages. Work means work, pain and the absence of freedom. We definitely see the noun pain coming back in this poem.
The author describes children’s work very critical.
Work By D.H. Laurence (1885-1930), 1929
Again we see Work and power coming back. On page 15 Grint refers to Hegel on work. We also see something what as Grint mentioned as Work and social class. We read about poor people live in poor living conditions, while the rich ones take advantage of it.
When we think of Marx’s critics to Capitalism, we can find it back in the poem when we read that the worker he has to produce goods and then he even has to pay for his own produces, to be able to use them (cups, plates, …). We see this on page 16 and further (Marx on work)
For Marx, capitalism inverted the world of work and turned it against the workers, thereby not just preventing them from realisation themselves but actually developing a system through which work became the source of anti-humanism, the origin of alienation and exploitation…
…Marx’s schema for the future of society counter posed an uneasy alliance between self-managed producer units and centrally co-ordinated social planning…
We can say that from this poem it’s clear that the same critical view of work comes in Marx perception on work.
The date when the poem was written is very important because the peot lived between the first and second world war and 1929 is right before the Economical crisis in
Everyone had to work, had to be employed. In the poem the worker first was happy to go to work and then you can see the consequence, namely depression and all sort of these things.
You can compare it with first a hopeful approach to capitalism.
What the chairman told Tom by Basil Banting (1900-85), 1965
you do not sweat, nobody pays for it
We aren’t sure whether Basil Banting wrote a poem about himself (autobiography). As we did some research on the internet about the poet’s life we found out that Basil wasn’t appreciated at all. He got a lot of comments of the art officers and his profession was considered to be unworthy.
As we read through the poem then, we see all these things coming back. Therefore we think that he is trying to show us how his life looked like with a great appreciation for the hard labour working class.
He was bemoaning his own lot, in the guise of a sympathetic/ ironic but detached observer. A clever way to avoid self-pity.
Go and find work: references to himself: he knew all to well the pressure of go and find work.
Grint: p.15: Radical approaches to work:
There was also an outright of the universal ‘myth’ of work as propagated by Lafargue in his ‘The right to be lazy’ (to the considerable chagrin of his father-in-law, Marx) (Kumar, 1984: 11) and put rather more delicately by Russel in his ‘In praise of Idleness’ where he claimed that ‘A great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in virtuousness of WORK … the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work…
In the poem this refers to what we call the happy and easy jobs (arts), where they charge you a lot of money versus the hard labour jobs, where you don’t have to pay a lot of money for (bus drivers, building constructors).
Which gives us a little view on Work and social class as well because the upper class saw his work as unworthy.
Writing style: there are a lot of rhetoric questions
...I really enjoyed reading and working on Poetry!!I Love Poetry and all the Literature!!Do you know Wordsworth? He defined poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"...