"Betjeman creates a world by carefully chosen detail." Do you agree with this assessment? In your answer you should refer to two or more poems.

Essay by ladybiaCollege, UndergraduateA-, January 2005

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John Betjeman has the astounding ability of putting on a persona and making him/her real and concrete for the short period in which the reader analyzes the poem. Through careful attention to certain items he decides to describe in germane detail, the author leads one to be familiar with his character's minds and situation perfectly. He possesses the ability to construct world's for any type of person: an affluent and superficial woman in In Westminster Abbey, an innocent seven or eight-year old boy in Indoor Games near Newbury, and even a highly critical mouse in Diary of a Church's Mouse. Through his meticulous descriptions, the poet creates a realistic world containing underlying criticism for our world and it's painful sins.

Each poem is a dramatic monologue through which the reader discovers Betjeman's characters. The poet also picks up the language of each of his individuals, using for example the speech of a frivolous affluent lady in In Westminster Abbey and of a little excited boy in Indoor Games near Newbury.

The superficial woman of In Westminster Abbey is a believable portrait of the British upper class proper lady in her blatantly egoistical and scoffing phrases, as "listen to a Lady's cry". This order to God is followed in a derogatory tone by the giving of her address "one-eighty-nine Cadogan Square". The poet mentions the address for a double purpose: On one hand, he is underlying the social status of his character by indicating the high-class position of her house, on the other hand he is emphasizing her snobbish attitude as she is arrogant of her position. Her pride in her status comes out in the very first line as she announces, to prove that she is proper and well-mannered: "Let me take this other glove off..." The woman makes...