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Transcript of The Manhunt
-Simon Armitage is British poet, playwright and author.
-He was born on May 26th 1963 in Yorkshire.
-Throughout his career as a poet he has won numerous awards including Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry and a BAFTA.
Listen to poem and look at the copy of it in your books
-Who do you think is the voice in the poem?
-What do you think they are talking about?
-Where has the person they are talking about been?
-What made part of the poem made you think this?
Background on the Poem
-Simon Armitage wrote the poem from the perspective of a woman called Laura, so it is sometimes referred to as 'Laura's Poem'.
-Her husband served in Bosnia, and the poem describes the relationship they had when he returned, emotionally and physically scarred.
-It was first featured on a Channel 4 documentary called
Forgotten Heroes: The Not Dead
What do you think the poem is about?
5, 1, 1
5 key themes
Look at the key themes - what metaphors or lines do you think made us think this?
The poem ‘Manhunt’ is war themed with lots of words including blown, broken, scarring, unexploded, bullet and blade emphasising this.
The title itself visualises a man being physically chased or hunted down. However, it is actually a metaphor used to suggest that the soldier feels like a criminal and he is trapped within his own mind.
Throughout the poem there are themes of war imagery, love, passion and loss. The title ‘Manhunt’ gives ideas of searching, which is also a key theme that runs through the poem. The term ‘manhunt’ is normally used to describe an organised search for a criminal, suspect, or escaped prisoner. This shows that maybe the poem is about a soldier who has ran away and left the war or has been dismissed for something he has done.
Language Quote Analysis
The words ‘struts’ and ‘rungs’ make the reader picture a ladder which the war victim is trying to ‘climb’. Metaphorically it suggests his battle to climb out of his low mental state as well as physically heal. His wife or girlfriend, the voice of the poem, explains how she is trying to ‘bind’ him back together and fix him so that he can come back and live the life the war has stolen from him.
'The foetus of metal beneath his chest
where the bullet had finally come to rest.'
Imagery Quote Analysis
The word ‘foetus’ gives images and connotations of a baby and a baby changes a couples’ relationship, as does war. There is juxtaposition here as a baby usually alters a relationship for the better, whereas war is normally for the worse. Armitage’s use of the word ‘foetus’ instead of ‘child’ shows the ideas of growth inside of a person and perhaps this is depicting how the impact of war is growing inside of him.
The word ‘beneath’ perhaps illustrates how his pain was hidden from his wife/partner as he had tried to push it beneath the surface and mask it.
Armitage writes ‘finally come to rest.’ which illustrates images of death and loss. It also depicts the fact that the bullet is staying there in his chest and not leaving, perhaps in the same way that the suffering of war will always be with him. This line is also end stopped, reinforcing the connotations of death and something coming to an end.
What does the structure in the Manhunt tell us about the poem? Discuss in your tables.
-The reoccurring theme of war conveys a certain feeling and emotion towards the wounded soldier who has returned from the war.
-This is demonstrated when the rhyme scheme is developed as having an uneven pattern. This indicates the confusion and searching shown by the soldier but also a sense of loss from his wife as she tries to discover the problems he has encountered. - The rhyme scheme continues to become ever increasingly irregular as she comes closer to the truth as his wife unravels his mind.
-As the rhyme scheme changes, it indicates that since the war his persona and mind has altered significantly due to his horrific experiences.
-Furthermore the idea of inconsistent rhyme patterns portrays a sense of fragmentation in his mind.
-The structure of the poem is arranged into 13 stanzas consisting of two couplets. The fact that the poem is revealed in two simple couplets exposes the idea of their isolation in this situation and how they are unable to gain help from others forcing them to deal with the destructions of the war alone.
-The small coupletscould reflect the slow, painful and fragmented
route to recovery
-The repetition of ‘only then…’ suggests the slow painstaking process of trying to mend his wounds.
-The word ‘and’ is also used in several stanzas illustrating that this is an active and ongoing process and his wife can only try and help her husband slightly.
'Only then could I bind the struts
and climb the rungs of his broken ribs'
-The whole sound of the poem reflects the state of the man: starting healthy and regular but slowly deteriorating after the effects of his experiences during the war
-Another interpretation of the overview of the poem could be that the sound patterns reflect the searching and confusion of the woman. The poem is written from the point of view of the woman so the sounds that are created are potentially reflecting her feelings rather than the man’s.
Group 1: Line 3&4 (Only then would he let me trace...)
Group 2: Line 5&6 (only then would he let me explore...)
Group 3: Line 9&10 (and mind and attend...)
Group 4: Line 11&12 (and finger and thumb...)
Group 5: Line 21&22 (Then I widened the search...)
In your groups writea short paragraph analysing your 2 lines. The best one will win a prize!
YOU HAVE 5 MINUTES!
-The rhyme scheme is mostly couplets but after the third stanza, it begins to break down. It represents the way that the man is, but also the relationship between the man and the woman.
-As the rhyme scheme begins to break down, the rhymes become either completely different or similar. This is called a half rhyme.
-The first three rhyming couplets use words that end with very peaceful, relaxing sounds such as ‘ase’ and ‘aw.’ As the poem goes on, the rhyming couplets use harsher sounds like ‘est’