Mr Bleaney

Posted by admin on November 28, 2017 in Articles

Phillip Larkin’s poem ‘Mr Bleaney’ explores the theme of brevity of life within the context of a narrator relating their perception and opinion of the life of the previous tenant of the room he is looking round on speculation of lodging there. By the end of the poem, he becomes reflective on how life can become monotonous and whether, ‘How we live measures our own nature,’ and uses a variety of linguistic and structural techniques to create a melancholy tone that invokes and emphasises the feelings of loneliness and emptiness.
The theme of monotony is first introduced through the language in the title ‘Mr Bleaney’ because the fact that it is the name of a person whom the listener does not know makes him seem an irrelevant and unimportant figure. This idea is strengthened by the fact that the name consists of long drawn out vowel sounds and this lack of strong syllables creates a sense of the monotony of Mr Bleaney’s life and the idea that it was one of tedium and lack of excitement. Also, this is echoed in the compact and neat structure of the poem with a regular ABAB rhyme scheme for example with the rhymes ‘till’ and ‘sill’ in the first stanza because rigidity suggests the uniformity and unchanging nature of Mr Bleaney.
In turn, these first impressions from the title and structure of the poem are reinforced in the first stanza by Larkin’s use of the sentence “He stayed / The whole time he was at the Bodies, till / They moved him.” The phrase ‘at the Bodies’ literally means that Mr Bleaney worked at the body making department of a car factory and this type of employment in itself suggests that he led a boring life. However, it could also be interpreted as a metaphor suggesting that Mr. Bleaney will only be moved out of the lodged room in a coffin because of the lack of ambition or change in his life. The enjambment between these three lines could further suggest Mr Bleaney’s life stretching out endlessly without any clear sense of direction. Also, the three…