A Short Analysis of Philip Larkin’s ‘Going’

I love Larkin, especially his musings on the inevitability and finality of death. A common theme in much of his work and oft reflected in his superb but sadly all too rarely recorded delivery.

Interesting Literature

A summary of a short Larkin poem

‘Going’, originally titled ‘Dying Day’, is one of Philip Larkin’s earliest mature poems, written in 1946 and published in his 1955 volume The Less Deceived. At once plain-spoken and strangely elusive, ‘Going’ is a lyric about one of the most common themes of Larkin’s poetry: death. You can read ‘Going’ here; below is our analysis of it.

In ten unrhymed lines, ‘Going’ explores death without ever mentioning it by name, instead referring to it, slightly elliptically, as ‘an evening’ that is ‘coming in’. Immediately we have a contrast: something is ‘coming’ but, as the title makes clear, something is also ‘going’: life itself.

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