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John Betjemin Poetry Essay, Research Paper

‘John Betjeman’s poetry both informs and amuses.’ With reference to at least two of his poems show how accurate this statement is.John Betjeman became poet laureate in 1972, and was well known for his appearances on television. One characteristic of Betjeman’s poems is his use of satire. With his use of satire he communicates his views on themes such as hypocrisy and egotism in society.In ‘The Village Inn’, Betjeman attacks the way that people try to recreate ‘history’ and and at the same time destroy it; and how businesses try to hide their real intentions from the public. The Public Relations Officer represents the brewery that is rebuilding ‘The Bear’ and it is through this character that Betjeman criticises them.The first paragraph of the poem is a retrospective look at the way the PRO first introduces himself to the public. It depicts an idealistic, sentimental picture of the village inn: ‘ancient, clean, and free from sin.’

Betjeman highlights how easily the PRO pulls the public into his creation by emphasising the lines:’So spake the brewers P.R.O.,

A man who really ought to know,

For he is paid for doing so.’with a rhyming triplet instead of a rhyming couplet. Betjeman stresses the PRO’s contradictory character and adds some sarcasm when he says that the PRO ‘kindly’ gave him a ‘free’ colour booklet. Betjeman is also showing that the PRO constantly puts on a fa?ade by saying that he was kind. The PRO wouldn’t be expected to be mean which makes you realise that they are always extremely kind and friendly. One means the PRO uses to fool the public is to feed them a deluge of information. This way the public does not have a chance to respond to what they are being told and become overwhelmed with facts and figures. Betjeman recreates this by not using any stops for thirteen lines in the first paragraph.The second paragraph to the end of the poem is written in the form of a conversation between the PRO and Betjeman. Here there is more evidence of the PRO contradicting himself. He says the old inn: ‘wasn’t worth our while’ whereas before, when he was introducing himself he said that their pubs are: ‘run for love and not for gold.’ The PRO also says, ironically, that the Bear, which was built in the Georgian period, has been rebuilt in ‘Early Georgian style.’ Now that the ‘Bear’ has been rebuilt it has lost its character. The ‘knobbly pear tree’ and the ‘crudely painted sign’ are all gone and in their place are red walls, emerald tiles, and a neon sign. Betjeman is criticising the fact that everything in these times has to be clean, bright and overly sanitary.In the ‘Diary of a Church Mouse’, Betjeman highlights the hypocrisy of certain types of people and their desire to be seen as high-class and virtuous while selfish and inconsiderate. This poem takes the form of a narrative through the eyes of a church mouse. The mouse in the poem represents the type of people Betjeman is denouncing. It is not concerned with the religious and ritualistic aspects of the church but more with it’s status within the church and as seen through the eyes of other people. The mouse is also hippocritical of the people who come to the church, not for worship, but to satisfy themselves.The church mouse lives undisturbed in a ?dark forgotten room? in which the cleaner never goes. This shows that the church is neglected and forgotten for most of the year. It lives ‘lean and alone’ eating ’sawdust mixed with straw’ and ‘polish for the floor.’There is a caesura as a more serious point is being made. The mouse is stating that, while Christmas and Easter and Whitsun may be huge feats in a ritualistic


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