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A Study Of Reading Habits Analysis

A study of Reading Habits is a poem by Philip Larkin that explores the idea of how reading habits can change over time. The poem begins with the speaker talking about how, as a child, he used to love reading poetry. However, as he got older, his interests changed and he began to read more prose. The speaker reflects on how his reading habits have changed over the years and how they have been influenced by his changing interests.

The poem culminates with the speaker reflecting on how reading habits can change over time, and how they can be influenced by our changing interests. This is an important message that speaks to the importance of remaining open-minded and curious in our quest for knowledge.

In A Study of Reading Habits by Philip Larkin, the theme of journeys is found. It isn’t, however, a physical journey that we see depicted; instead, it’s a metaphorical one about the speaker’s life progression as he goes through his various escapes inspired by books. The title appears to be a mock-serious name because it has the sound and feel of an academic study in which Larkin employs first person perspective to express sentiments that would rather not be attributed to him.

The poem starts with the speaker telling us how, as a child, he would escape into books to get away from his home life He would read “for hours on end”(line 3) and this act of reading provided him with an escape to “a world without problems” (line 4). The speaker talks about how he would become so engrossed in the book that he was reading that he would forget his surroundings. This is seen in lines 5-6 when the speaker states that he would be “in another place entirely” and how “the voice of my mother calling would not reach me”.

When the persona first arrives in London, he is carefree and happy. He imagines a fantastic world where he could be cool and ‘deal out the right hook to his bullies,’ adopting a tough guy attitude as his fantasy persona. The alliteration of “dirty dogs” symbolism of the persona’s bullies, who are depicted as the antagonists.

The persona then skips to his university years where he is now ‘a dull and respectable man’. He has realised that reading does not make you cool, but rather it is something that ‘dulls your wits and makes you fat’. The rhyme of ‘wits and fat’ emphasises how the persona has changed his opinion on reading, from seeing it as a positive activity to a negative one.

Larkin then looks at how different people use books for different reasons. Some people read for entertainment, while others see it as a chore. The final stanza returns to the persona, who has now changed his reading habits and only reads ‘for pleasure or pain’.

The poem is cleverly written and uses a range of literary techniques to convey the message that books are not always what they seem. It also highlights how our reading habits can change over time, depending on our experiences and circumstances.

It’s the tales that make him think he’s indestructible, such as those of the heroes he reads about. The stories offer him a form of escape in which he can be a brave hero rather than the persecuted youngster he is in reality. Euphony adds to the beginning stanza’s smooth, harmonic feel. This demonstrated how carefree and fantastic childhood may be.

Larkin uses enjambment in the poem to create a feeling of continuous motion, which could represent how quickly time passes. It also shows how one event can lead into another and how, sometimes, things are unpredictable.

An example of this is “And then he was old.” This line is placed right after the image of the boy being young and carefree, showing how suddenly time can change things.

The final stanza brings the reader back to reality with the harsh truth that ” Childhood is gone.” This is shown through the use of Repetition as Larkin repeats the words “is gone.”

The poem ends on a sad note, emphasizing how reading habits change as we grow older and how our childhood innocence is eventually lost.

His adolescent years are represented by the second stage in his trip. We now see him with ‘inch thick specs,’ which is ironic because previously he stated his love of reading was ‘ruining [his] eyes.’ The persona becomes more gothic and dark, and his new interest in Horror Fiction enhances that. His new escape appears to be “cloaks and fangs,” which sound dangerous and frightening.

This could be seen as him being in a ‘phase’, where he is going through changes and experimenting. However, it may also be interpreted that the persona has experienced something dark and traumatic, which has led him to reading horror fiction as a form of escapism. The final part of the poem sees the persona in his adulthood. He is now married with children and works as a librarian. It is clear he no longer enjoys reading as much as he used to, due to his lack of time. However, he still reads ‘for pleasure’ despite not having ‘the time to read’. This suggests that once you develop a love for reading, it is hard to let go even when life gets in the way.

A Study of Reading Habits is a poem that follows the life of the persona and how his reading habits change throughout his life. The poem is separated into three parts, which represent different stages in the persona’s life.

The first part of the poem represents the persona’s childhood. We see him as an innocent boy who loves to read. He is ‘fascinated’ by books and reads ‘for pleasure’. However, he is not allowed to read for too long as it ‘ruins his eyes’. This could be interpreted as him being too young to understand the importance of taking care of your eyesight.

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