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Lang/Lit: ‘Close’

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Paul Hanson

on 5 October 2017

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Transcript of Lang/Lit: ‘Close’

First Reading
Stanzas One
The poem describes a relationship in which the couple struggle with conflicting emotions of love and animosity.
A sense of mutual imprisonment is highlighted by the
at the beginning of the poem: ‘Lock the door’.
of darkness conveys their despair and the
abstract noun
‘journey’ might suggest that the relationship has come to an end. The
of their ‘childhoods’, which watch them ‘take each other to bits’,
their former innocence with their savage hostility.

As you read the poem for the first time, consider the following:
people and relationships

Annotate your copy of the poem as you deal with each stanza.
Stanza Two
They feel trapped by their intense relationship, simultaneously feeling deeply tied to one another while wishing to break away from their connection. The speaker seems to suggest that the troubles and secrets of the past might have led to the breakdown of the relationship, implied by the
‘suitcase crammed with secrets’.
Minor imperative sentences
such as ‘undress’ and the direct address to the lover ‘you have me like a drawing… signed by your tongue’ imply that the physical closeness of the relationship still exists.

Stanza Three
Although they are physically intimate and seem to be attuned to each other’s thoughts, they feel unable to communicate successfully and make their needs understood by their partner ('unreadable'). It is ambiguous where
of the persona as ‘homeless’ is
or literal, but certainly it implies that she has lost the sense of security that the relationship used to provide. The lover is described almost like a hunter, trapping the speaker by ‘moving in close’ (
verbial phrase
); this is simultaneously intimate and threatening.
In groups, find quotations which support the following statements about the poem and analyse them using literary and linguistic terminology. Try to comment on the following devices in your analysis:
imperative sentences
imagery of light and darkness
simple sentences
minor sentences
highlighted by
parallel phrasing
the motif of rooms and houses
the use of pronouns
The speaker reflects on how neither partner can walk away easily with the simple assertion ('Love won't give in.') A relationship which used to provide comfort and stability has now become destructive to their mental states and well-being, echoed through the use of pathetic fallacy. The use of the
‘tremble’ and ‘ache’ convey the emotional distress felt by the persona, while the
pathetic fallacy
that inludes the verbs emphasises the anxiety of the situation.
Stanza Five
There is the implication that the past was a happier, more innocent time, which contrasts with the bleakness and the tension of their relationship at this point. This is implied through the
of the years which ‘stand outside’ and look on pityingly at the way this relationship has been changed through time, while the ‘ghosts’ of the lovers imply that some of their original affection might still exist.
Stanzas Four
What is the most important line in the poem and why?
Full transcript