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William Parker-Gorman

The speaker would use reading to get away from different things such as school and bullies. He didn't care if reading ruined his eyes because in books he could imagine anything and escape

reality. He could imagine being cool and fighting the bullies "twice [his] size" (line 6). Later on, during adolescence, the speaker liked reading darker books. His eyes were so bad from reading

he had to get spectacles. He enjoyed the evilness of "cloak

Now, in the present, the speaker doesn't read anymore because the stories are too closely related to his issues. He can no longer escape his problems regarding his lousy life. So, the speaker condemns books altogether and believes they are worthless.! The theme of the poem is that escapism and ignoring reality only makes life less fulfilling.! The speaker in the poem is a persona, speaking in first person. The persona is imaginative. He imagines a fantasy world where he could be cool and "deal out the old right hook" to his bullies. (l 5). The persona is also lonely. In the final stanza the speaker realizes that he doesn't know how to face reality. His whole entire youth was created through fictional books. Now, the more mature books, underscore his lonesome. Additionally, the persona is resentful. During his childhood books were of so much value to him. They were worth "ruining [his] eyes" (l 3). But the books in that time were fictional, and most likely of superheroes and other fictional idols. Later on, the persona realizes he is not equipped for reality and believes "books are a load of crap" (l 18). The speaker's tone is disappointed and bitter.! There was a smooth, harmonious quality in the beginning stanza due to Euphony. This underscored how easygoing and fantasy-like childhood can be. Also, there was alliteration in line 6. The text "dirty dogs" was symbolism of the persona's bullies. This alliteration illuminated upon the

name flippant calling present in youth. Additionally, the poem contained a rhyme scheme within stanzas. The rhyme scheme was set up in a, b, c, b, a, c format.!

The poem is about the speaker's life progression. Each stanza represents a different stage in life. The first stanza represents his childhood; reading to escape, dealing with bullies, and being cool. The second stanza represents the persona's adolescence; the persona is more curious about dark, evil fiction. He admires the symbolism of a vampire and has a stronger sexual drive. In the final stanza the speaker comes to terms with reality; he can no longer hide behind books. He realizes that his world is less fulfilling than the fantasies portrayed in books. He feels betrayed by books and his tone becomes bitter. The poem is composed of contradictory statements. The first line pertains to the persona's love "of getting [his] nose in a book". On the contrary, the final line represents the persona's new feelings towards books. He believes they are a worthless "load of crap" (l 18).! In this poem metaphor is evident. This device is only evident, however, in line 16. The line "the chap who's yellow and keeps the store, seem far too familiar" (l 15-17) functions as imagery that characterizes the character is the persona's stories as the color yellow. The color yellow evokes the sense of weakness and represents cowardly characteristics. This metaphor produces the effect of a cowardly character, who evidently relates to the persona.! The poetic device of allusion is evident in the poem. Allusion in created in the second stanza. The persona creates the allusion to vampires when describing his interest in dark fictional books. The

words "cloak

persona's taste in fictional text matures, along with his hormonal interests.! Sources: "A Study of Reading Habits" by Philip Larkin ! Symbolism is evident in the poem. The poetic device is most apparent in the final stanza. The persona describes the books he dislikes during adulthood. Lines 13 to 17 talk about characters in books that are cowards or fall short. In line 17, the persona is uncomfortable with these books because the characters "seem far too familiar". The characters in these books function as symbols of the persona and his lousy life.! The poetic device simile is present in the poem. Simile is obvious in line 12, where the persona talks about how he "[breaks women] up like meringues" in his whimsical world. He compares women to meringues, a light, airy, sweet desert. This simile functions as his desire for sexual encounters with women.! The poetic device connotation is present in the poem. Connotation is evident in line 16, where the word "yellow" is used to describe the character from the books the persona reads. The negative connotation of the word yellow functions as a sense of weakness and cowardice.


9) and humiliating women.



sex" all function as characteristics usually related to vampires. The