English Literature Poetry (Manhunt, Hour, In Paris With You)

  • Created by: Lydia
  • Created on: 07-04-13 23:48
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  • English Literature Poetry Relationships Cluster
    • Simon Armitage; Manhunt
      • Structure
        • The poem is made up of a series of couplets, mostly unrhymed. This creates a sense of fragmentation, which matches the feelings of the soldier's wife as she seeks to understand the man her husband has become
        • The poem describes the phases of a wife's search for answers from her injured husband who has recently returned from a war zone. The poem ends when the search is brought to a close.
      • Language
        • The title puns on the idea of the 'manhunt', meaning literally a hunt to capture a man, often a criminal. Here the wife's search is for the husband she knew so well but who seems lost to her, metaphorically, after his experiences at war.
        • Many of the first lines of the couplets have prominent verbs, reflecting the activities of the wife as she conducts her "search". Words and phrases like"explore", "handle and hold", "mind and attend" are all references to careful treatment of her husband's injured body, as well as suggesting her patient care for his mental state.
        • The speaker refers to parts of the husband's body metaphorically, comparing them to inanimate objects rather than to living things. His jaw is a "blown hinge", suggesting that he is no longer open to her, perhaps unable to talk of his feelings and experiences. His collar bone is "damaged, porcelain", a metaphor that brings to mind something hard but also easily chipped and cold, a reminder of the "frozen river which ran through his face".
        • There are lots of sensual, loving verbs in the poem, reflecting the intimacy of husband and wife, and keen devotion from the wife hoping to heal her husband. The wife says that she is able to "climb the rungs of his broken ribs", a closely observed detail of her hands exploring the altered body of her husband. The idea of the ladder is reflective of the effort involved in the wife's gradual search for answers.
      • Attitudes, themes and ideas
        • The Manhunt is about the patience and care of love. The wife in the poem is methodical and thorough in her search, exploring her husband's injured body with love and care.
        • The poem also explores the cost of war on those serving in the armed forces. The man has a "grazed heart", perhaps literally from an injury caused by "the metal beneath his chest", but also metaphorically. He is unable to connect with his wife, unwilling to speak of his experiences, and so their loving relationship is affected. The image of the metal bullet still inside him as a "foetus" suggests that, like having a baby, the couple's relationship will be forever changed by what he has gone through.
        • Lines 23 and 24 present the metaphor of "a sweating, unexploded mine buried deep in his mind". The source of the problem is not physical but mental, and threatens to cause problems at any time. The importance of the wife's care and delicacy is highlighted by her discovery of this problem.
        • The poem is not about judging the rights and wrongs of war, but the impact of war on one particular relationship. This is made clear in the final line of the poem: "Then, and only then, did I come close". Her search is not fully successful, she only comes "close", and only after she realises that her husband's problems lie as much in memories of his experiences as they do in his physical scars.
      • Subject
        • The Manhunt is written from the perspective of the wife of a soldier who has sustained serious injuries at war and has returned home. The poem explores the physical and mental effects of living with injuries sustained when on active service in the armed forces.
    • Carol Ann Duffy; Hour
      • Subject
        • Hour is about the feelings that arise from spending time with a loved one. The poem suggests that to be with a loved one, even for just an hour, is precious and valuable. It also presents the traditional idea of time as an obstacle to lovers.
      • Structure
        • Hour follows the structure of a Shakespearean sonnet: it has fourteen lines and a predictable rhyme scheme (a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-g-g). Sonnets often use a final rhyming couplet to offer a 'turn' in the meaning; however, Duffy only offers a partial turn, which is confirmation of the idea that love will always triumph by finding unlikely sources of value.
      • Language
        • Hour has many references to money and riches, contrasting the concept of material wealth and possessions against love and time spent with a loved one.Line three puns on the word "spend", and is typical of the way in which the poem investigates the themes of love and money:We find an hour together, spend it not on flowersOr wine, but the whole of the summer sky and a grass ditch.
        • UntiThe traditional territory of lovers ("Flowers" and "wine") is replaced by alternatives: for example, "a grass ditch" is an improbable romantic location. There is simplicity and perfection to "the whole of the summer sky", an image rich in meaning, a visual feast for a loving couple lying down together and looking up. They enjoy the "Midas light". (Midas was the mythical king whose touch turned things to gold.)tled
        • As the poem's title suggests, time is an important consideration for the lovers. "For thousands of seconds we kiss" is a striking phrase, offering the idea of excess - "thousands" - with the limitation of available time, measured in seconds. This precise measurement indicates how precious time is to the speaker, a "treasure" to be carefully counted.
        • The pleasure and riches that the couple gather in an hour allow them to feel as if they are frozen in time: "Time slows, for here/we are millionaires, backhanding the night". The hour spent together in the golden light gives them a sense of power, making them feel as if they can bribe the darkness to hold back, giving the lovers immense joy and wealth.
        • There is a contrast between images traditionally seen as romantic (or associated with wealth) and the ordinary: "Flowers" and "grass ditch" compare to a "jewel" and "cuckoo spit" (insect eggs left on long grass); "sunlight" contrasts with a "chandelier"; "gold" contrasts with "straw". These contrasts emphasise the romance of the lovers' time together. Traditional ideas are shown to be unimportant compared to the personal experience of the two characters.
        • Hour also makes frequent references to images of light in contrast to the night and the darkness of inevitable separation. These include: "Bright", "summer sky", "Midas light", "shining hour", "candle", "chandelier or spotlight". Duffy uses light to suggest a positive, warm, optimistic liaison. Rather than dwelling on the darkness of separation the lovers make the most of the time they have together.
        • n the final stanza there is a single-word sentence "Now.". It is simple, like the lovers' situation, and yet has a strong sense of being complete; nothing more is needed. It celebrates the moment rather than dwelling on the future or the past.
      • Attitudes, Themes and ideas
        • The traditional battle of love versus time is boldly presented in the poem: "Time hates love". The poem questions the assumption that time will triumph, forcing a separation. Instead "love spins gold, gold, gold from straw". Duffy alludes to the fairytale character Rumpelstiltskin, able to transform straw into gold. This reference adds a magical feel to the closing lines. It is an image that sums up the key theme: love can find riches in anything - "straw" or even "a grass ditch".
        • The poem is about enjoying the intimacy of a moment in time rather than thinking about the world beyond. The simple nature of the experience is a reminder that material possessions cannot replace something as magical and powerful as time spent with a loved one.
        • The opening words "Love's time's beggar" echo another poem in the 'Relationships' section of the AQA Anthology, Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 ("Love's not Time's fool"), which also explores the relationship between love and the passage of time.
    • James Fenton; In Paris With You
      • Subject
        • In Paris with You is recounted by a (thenarrator) whose relationship has just ended and who is now in Paris with someone else ("I'm on the rebound"). This suggests a long-term relationship has ended and the speaker is currently enjoying a less serious liaison. The narrator doesn't want to examine the aftermath of the serious relationship: he doesn't want to talk things over or even visit galleries or landmarks; he just wants to enjoy the moment rather than thinking of the future or the past.
      • Structure
        • The poem has four stanzas of five or six lines, with a longer stanza of nine lines in the centre, acting as a chorus in which the mood of the poem changes. The first half of the poem deals with the lead up to the current situation; the second half is concerned with enjoying the present. The repeated line "I'm in Paris with you" - and variations on it - can be described as a refrain (lines that are repeated in a song). The use of repetition reflects the speaker's insistent concentration on the present.
        • The poem has a regular rhyme scheme in the four stanzas, adding to the poem's musical quality. The rhyme scheme in these four stanzas can be described as a-b-c-c-b (with the final b in the extra line of the last stanza). The stanza in the centre of the poem makes use of half rhyme. The contrasting rhyme of "Elysees" and "sleazy" gives a comic effect.
      • Language
        • In Paris with You opens with an emphatic negative: "Don't talk to me of love". The speaker has "had an earful" and wants to stop thinking about love. The line is repeated at the start of two more stanzas. However, this is not a negative poem but one which celebrates the intimacy of a relationship.
        • The poem is written in the first person and addresses a lover. There are lines that hint at a conversation with a lover, but we only hear one person's side of the dialogue: "Yes I'm angry" and "Am I embarrassing you?" The poem seems even more intimate; we are almost made to feel as if we're eavesdropping.
        • There is a repeated use of colloquial (everyday) language, suggesting this is an informal, honest poem. Phrases such as "had an earful", "downed a drink or two", "say sod off to sodding Notre Dame" and "Doing this and that" make the poem down-to-earth. Such language also contrasts with the falsely poetic tone often found in literature about love, replacing it to comic effect.
        • Word play is another technique used to generate humour. The speaker refers to his weariness at having to talk about his failed relationship: "I'm one of your talking wounded", a pun on the phrase 'walking wounded' (used in the context of war), which he then rhymes with "maroonded", a partly nonsense word used to maintain the rhyme scheme. This brings a fun and inventive tone to the poem.
        • The final stanza repeats "I'm in Paris with..." four times, and offers both comical and sensual references to the speaker's enthusiasm for the person he is with. The line "Am I embarrassing you?" adds to the sense of the exuberant, teasing attitude of the speaker.
      • Attitudes, themes and ideas
        • The poem is about surfacing from a long-term relationship but not thinking about it in the aftermath. It is about enjoying a time of closeness without having to take responsibility for the past or the future. "I'm in Paris with you" is a mantra (a repeated sound or phrase that can transform you) which contains the key theme of enjoying the present.
        • In Paris with You rejects the traditional concerns of romance. The famous sights of the usually romantic city of Paris are unimportant to the narrator:Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre,If we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame,If we skip the Champs Elysées
        • Instead the speaker concentrates on the "sleazy/Old hotel room" with its "crack across the ceiling" in which the "walls are peeling". These details are unique to the narrator's experience of being in Paris with a lover - "I'm in Paris with the slightest thing you do" - which sums up the poem's message: being together is far more important than typical romantic locations and analytical conversations.


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