Compare One Flesh and 04/01/07 in the Poetry Anthology

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Elizabeth Jennings’s ‘One Flesh’ presents the relationship through a daughter looking back at her parents’ behaviour towards each other. Ian McMillan’s ‘04/01/07’ presents the reaction to his mother’s death. In this essay, I will analyse and compare how the poets present their attitudes to relationship by looking at the structure, imagery and the use of senses in the poems. Looking at the structure of the poems, Jennings and McMillan use different techniques to present their attitudes to relationships. McMillan uses the form of a sonnet, where the iambic pentameter rhythm imitates the regularity of the heartbeat, which shows the love towards his mother and the physical intensity of his reaction to her death. On the other hand, Jennings’s ‘One Flesh’ is in three stanzas of sestets, which separates different views on her parents’ marriage and their lack of physical contact. Both poets decide to use end-stops in the middle of a line to interrupt the regularity of the structured stanzas and add tension to the poem, for example in line fifteen of “One Flesh” and line ten of “04/01/07”. Looking at the imagery and the use of the senses in the poems, Jennings and McMillan refer repeatedly to feelings in order to present their attitudes to relationship. Similes such as “like a confession” and metaphors such as “fire from which I came” are used by Jennings to convey her feelings. She uses the simile “like a thread” to show that relationships might break as the thread is very thin, but at the same time her parents are linked together with the thin piece of thread. She also uses the metaphor “time itself’s a feather”, referring to the sense of touch, and suggesting lightness and gentleness. McMillan also uses personification in “tears slap my torn face” to add tension and create a visual image. He also uses specific words containing visual images such as “dark glass” and
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