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Mr Bleaney Summary & Analysis
by Philip Larkin

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Written in 1955 and published in the 1964 volume The Whitsun Weddings, Philip Larkin's "Mr Bleaney" deals with loneliness, deprivation, and the fear of wasting one's life. The speaker rents a dingy room and learns that the previous tenant, Mr. Bleaney, lived there for many years, seemingly trapped in a solitary, dull existence. Having taken Bleaney's place, the speaker worries that he'll meet the same fate—and that the mediocre living conditions he's settled for reflect his own Bleaney-like mediocrity. Ultimately, the poem plays with the idea that "how we live measures our own nature": that we end up with the home and life we deserve, even if it's not much of a home or life.

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