Manhunt Essay

1314 Words6 Pages
Compare the ways poets use language to present relationships in “The manhunt” and in another poem from relationships. (I chose in Paris with you) The key similarity between Simon Armitage’s ‘The Manhunt’ and James Fenton’s ‘In Paris with You’ is the theme, common of both, of the darker side of love. Armitage chooses to explore this through the idea of a man returning to his wife, Laura, after a war, and is thus a heavier and more emotive poem, whilst Fenton writes of a weekend in Paris, in which one tries desperately not to fall in love with the unnamed person that he has come with. The key differences are the tone: Armitage’s poem is melancholy and yet hopeful, in places, whereas Fenton’s in an anti-romance with a darkly comic edge, reminiscent of such famous Auden works as ‘Stop all the Clocks’. In ‘The Manhunt’, Armitage uses simple language that often rhymes ‘trace / face’ to convey the simplicity of Laura’s love for her wounded man. This contrasts with his long lines which run between the stanzas: there is no full stop under the penultimate line. This indicates the concept that war never ends for the men who fight in it. The structure of the long lines echoes the idea that she is exploring his body, identifying herself with his wounds and the extent of the damage, and methodically helping him to heal himself: ‘climb the rungs … skirted along … widened the search’. His physical attributes (his ‘rudder of shoulder-blade’ his ‘damaged porcelain collarbone) can be compared to the places where the man has been: the woman is trying to reclaim her man from the war. However, ‘The frozen river’ is his tears, always present, conveying the coldness in his heart that only her passion can extinguish. The woman is nursing him, but she is also taking on his role to some extent – usually it is a soldier who would ‘handle and hold’ a weapon and ‘explore’ an area prior to
Open Document