Essay on Analysis and Summary of Church Going

Words: 1316
Pages: 6

“Church Going,” a poem of seven nine-line stanzas, is a first-person description of a visit to an empty English country church. The narrator is apparently on a cycling tour (he stops to remove his bicycle clips), a popular activity for British workers on their summer holiday. He has come upon a church and stopped to look inside. Not wishing to participate in a worship service, the visitor checks first to make “sure there’s nothing going on.” He will eventually reveal that he is an agnostic and that his interest in churches is not derived from religious faith.
This church is empty, so he walks in, observing all of the usual accoutrements: “matting, seats, and stone,/ And little books.” His irreverence is captured in his tone as he observes
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Furthermore, the rhyme is so subtle as to be almost unnoticed in the reading. Only a few of the rhyming words are exact rhymes, and these are often very ordinary words (for example, “door” and “for” in stanza 2, and “do” and “too” in stanza 3) that do not call attention to themselves. Other rhyming words are half-rhymes (also known as imperfect rhymes, near rhymes, or slant rhymes). These words have similar vowel sounds, or similar consonant sounds, but not both. Some of the many half-rhymes in “Church Going” are “on,” “stone,” and “organ,” and “silence” and “reverence.”
The other dominant structural device in the poem is rhetorical. “Church Going” carefully follows the structure of the meditation, beginning with a detailed description of a place, leading to an internal debate, and finally reaching a tentative conclusion. Larkin’s place, a church, is evoked in sufficient detail to let readers re-create it in their minds and imagine themselves there with the narrator. The internal debate begins in stanza 3 and continues through the beginning of stanza 6. Here the narrator raises many questions, answering none of them. The questions explore the possible significance and uses of church buildings once people no longer use them for religious worship. What will happen when their purpose has been forgotten? The questions lead inevitably to considering why the narrator himself is drawn to these places.
His conclusion, which begins halfway through