The poems Sunny Prestatyn, Essential Beauty and love Songs in Age, are all presented with the theme of illusion and reality. Illusion is a false impression or delusion, so when an illusion is used within a poem there is a deeper meaning or reality behind the words. Because of this reality, the reader can see what Larkin is really trying to convey in the poems is shown and we understand what was meant by the illusion .
In the poem Sunny Prestatyn, Larkin uses harsh reality to show the depth of the illusion. In the poem we are presented with a sunny, picturesque and idealistic scene on a billboard, with a pretty girl asking you to Come to Sunny Prestatyn'. This idealistic scene gives us the illusion that in Prestatyn the weather will always be sunny, when in fact, as Prestatyn is in Wales it will most likely be raining. .
The girl shown in the advertisement is shown to be laughing and is also wearing white satin, In taunted white satin'. This gives the idea of the girl being unspoilt, virginal and pure. This deludes the reader of the poster into thinking that this is what Prestatyn is actually like: unspoilt and pure. The poem goes on to describing the palm trees at Prestatyn and the coast. This is described as, a hunk of coast, a hotel with palms'. This hunk of coast' suggests manliness and the palm trees also suggest an erotic type of Eden. This gives the reader the illusion that Prestatyn will be the holiday of their dreams. We are then given the image of the girl offering her palms to the reader, and spread breast-lifting arms'; this line gives the reader delight or excitement at the end of the first stanza, deluding the reader even more. In this first stanza the illusion and image of the perfect place is built up.
In the second stanza of the poem Larkin begins to use harsh reality to break down the illusion and destroy the image that was built up. She was slapped up one day in March.