Philip Larkin: Poems

An analysis of "Church Going" by Philip Larkin College

When one reads the title Church Going, one is inclined to think the poem that follows is going to be deeply religious. However, Philip Larkin's "Church Going" introduces an interesting play of words; when one goes on to read the poem, it becomes clear that it isn’t about going “to” church but the going “of” it. This poem addresses the slow demise of Church as an institution. Throughout, Larkin explores the possibility of what would happen if the Church were diluted in its essence, all while acknowledging the ongoing attraction of the religiosity that the Church embodies.

In the very first line the poet has made it clear that he’s a sceptic and he doesn’t wish to be involved in any ceremonies. He mentions the phrase “Another church”, as in just another church. This phrase is important because this is a part of the idea of religion being diluted, where all he sees is just “another church”. His tone is almost provocative in this context. Even when he says that everything is “brownish now”, he tries to imply that it is slowly eroding and isn’t quite as potent as it used to be. He brings out the idea of decay in this part of the poem. Also, the fact that he calls the alter the “holy end” almost seems to be in a subtle yet distinctly...

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