Manhunt & Nettles Comparison

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Caring for others is an important aspect of many relationships. Compare how caring for a loved one is presented in ‘The Manhunt’ and one other poem from the Relationships cluster. Both ‘The Manhunt’ by Simon Armitage and ‘Nettles’ by Vernon Scannell use military imagery to describe how the protagonists care for people close to them – ‘The Manhunt’ describes how a wife tends the physical and mental damage caused by her husband’s service in Bosnia, while ‘Nettles’ is a portrait of a father who wants protect his son, not only from hazards like stinging nettles but also from other things which may cause him pain later in life. ‘The Manhunt’ starts by describing the difficulty which the wife faces in getting both physically and emotionally close to her husband after he returns home injured. It takes time and patience, illustrated by the repetition of the phrase ‘Only then...’ in stanzas 2, 3 and 7. Armitage uses metaphors to describe the injuries the soldier has suffered, such as ‘frozen river’, ‘blown hinge of his lower jaw’ and ‘damaged, porcelain collar bone.’ Similarly, ‘Nettles’ also focuses early on the pain endured by the three year old son: ‘With sobs and tears The boy came seeking comfort.’ Again, the poet describes the nature of the boy’s injury with ‘blisters beaded on his tender skin.’ This can be compared to the soldier’s many injuries, such as ‘the fractured rudder of shoulder blade.’ In both cases the reader can sense the distress caused to the protagonists by seeing a loved one in distress. In ‘The Manhunt’, Armitage focuses very much on the wife’s attempts to tend and come close to her husband. In ‘Nettles’, however, the protagonist is more pro-active and seeks to destroy the cause of the pain. He sharpens his billhook and the nettles are ‘slashed with fury.’ The nettles are described through an extended metaphor of military images such as

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