Ambulances – Philip Larkin

A BMC Ambulance from the 1960s. The type mentioned in Larkin's poem.I thought it wise to post something about the work we were doing in class on Larkin’s poem Ambulances.

You will recall that I had described this as a lyric poem and we looked at what this might mean for our reading of the poem.

In general terms, stanzas 1 & 2 set the scene for the poem, stanza 3 conveys a change in perspective on the part of the poet, and stanzas 4 & 5 follow the perspective change and look at the universal nature of the experience.

(Warning: this is a very general overview. You should have fuller notes on your annotated copy of the poem and in you jotter/workbook)

Having looked at the poem together, I have provided you with copies of two other Philip Larkin poems: At Grass and Afternoons.

(Be warned: There are mistakes in some of the online copies of these poems!)

You are invited to carry out a solo analysis of either of these with a view to writing a comparative essay between it and ‘Ambulances’ next week.

Feel free to post questions/thoughts as comments (PS: You no longer need to register to leave a comment!)


3 thoughts on “Ambulances – Philip Larkin

  1. Hello Mr. W,

    Just to clarify, should the “999 rule” should apply to all Higher English essays? I tend to go over sometimes, but I have absolutely stuck to under 1000 words for this essay… Hoping I have still managed to convey everything I wanted to, but just wondering if that is a bit too short?



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