Talking in Bed by Philip Larkin

Talking in Bed’ by Philip Larkin

Read through ‘Talking in Bed’ on page 192 of Seasons Come to Pass, and then work through

the guidelines provided below.

1. Look at the title of the poem. Does this give you any clue as to what the poem is about?

Does what the title suggests occur in the poem? Write a paragraph in which you give

reasons for your answer.

2. Identify an example of repetition in line four and explain its effect.

3. Read the definition of ‘tone’ on page 47 of Introduction to English Literary Studies. What

is the tone created in lines 4 to 7? Identify words in this section that helped you in

determining the tone. Write a paragraph in which you describe how these words relate to

the title of the poem.

4. What is the setting of lines 8 to 12? How do you know this?

5. Look at the last three lines of the poem. What kinds of words does the speaker want to

speak to his or her partner? Why is this difficult?

2.3 ‘In the shadow of Signal Hill’ by Essop Patel

Read through ‘In the Shadow of Signal Hill’ on page 208 of Seasons Come to Pass. Also read

the brief biography of Essop Patel given above the poem and the explanatory note underneath.

Work through the guidelines given below.

1. The explanatory note below the poem gives you a clue as to the title’s significance.

Imagine that you are standing below Signal Hill. Write a paragraph in which you explain

what you see.

2. Read the definition of ‘connotation’ and ‘denotation’ on page 32 of Tutorial Letter 501.

Explain the denotation and connotations of the word ‘Shadow’ in the title of this poem.

3. Look up the word ‘lamentations’ (line 7) in a dictionary. When the speaker instructs the

reader to listen to ‘the lamentations of slaves’ (line 7), does he or she expect the reader

to hear real slaves in the present time of the poem? Why or why not? Write a paragraph

in which you describe what it is that the ‘children of colour’ (line 4) hear.

4. The first three lines of each stanza are the same. What does this tell you about the

setting of the poem? Why is this important?


5. What image is created in line 14? Write a paragraph in which you describe what this line


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