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Philip Larkin wrote the "Church Going" in 1954, and it was published in 1955 (Greenblatt). The poem touches on Larkin's predominantly atheist views and his general confusion about Christianity and religion in general.
The time period for the poem is post-World War II when many people were wary and even distrustful of the old, traditional structures of religion, social class, and especially government, reasoning that dependence on these same structures led us into a huge war, so why should we still trust them? Larkin's speaker echoes this sentiment throughout the poem; he feels a genuine sense of disconnect from the artifices of Christianity and the church. He sees the building and surveys its interior, but is unable to find meaning or appreciation for the purpose of the Church.
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