The poems “Love Songs in Age” and “Faith Healing”, Larkin presents the idea of the illusion and the reality through the format of how people strive for love (being the illusion) and what they really have (being reality). It is conveyed through his abstract concepts and his thoughts towards ‘love’. A recurring motif of love is established throughout both poems. The idea that love is no more than a self-protective illusion. The way the poem germinates is also typical of Larkin. An ordinary, seemingly trivial incident is explored and in the process is revealed an inescapable truth about human experience.
Perhaps less usual in Larkin’s poetry is the lack of cynicism or bitterness. I think this comes from the suggestion that the widow put aside not only her ‘love songs’ all those years ago, but also the youthful illusions that generate the unrealistic expectations we have of love. In the poem “Faith Healing” and “Love Sings in Age” shows his ideas and feelings in hidden context by making the reader unveil his thoughts on what he thinks. “Upright in rimless glasses, silver hair, Dark suit….
“, the sibilance in this line emphasise the smoothness and the slickness of the faith healer who is expected to be dressed in this sort of way, He’s portrayed as a good looking well dressed man as the “silver” hair shows his preciousness. The sibilance with the “s” sound is soft and gentle and could represent the faith healers attributes as him being soft and gentle towards the women he heals. If the reader was to make a suggestion about the faith healer, it would be negative. The illusion is the faith healer trying to act like a genuine healer, but the reality is, he is a charlatan
In the first stanza of “Love songs in Age”, triplication is used, “One bleached… One marked…. One mended”, this is referring to the song collection that the women (who Larkin introduces) has kept. The triplication could be used as a memory process conveyed through the women as she traces back her thoughts as to when she actually last viewed them. Larkin shows how she remembers the specific detail of each song which shows the actual love for the songs. The triplication also emphasises the love for the songs as it listed asyndetically. In the First stanza of “Faith Healing”, “…
warm spring rain of loving care” This noun phrase describing the faith healers power is very much clichi?? d, I think Larkin does this to try to create an impression of a very stereotypical faith healer, and that he has nothing special to divide him from other healers. He is what is expected from the women, a normal healer. The assonance in the noun phrase is very soft and gentle and could be the faith healers warm love towards the women. The illusion in ‘Love songs in Age’ is the songs collection she has. The reader would assume that the woman is a widow as Larkin’s states it in the first stanza.