The Manhunt Analysis

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  • The Manhunt
    • Structure
      • Series of couplets, mostly not rhyming
      • Phases of a wife's search for answers from her injured husband
    • Language
      • Title puns on the idea of a "manhunt" meaning literally to capture someone.
        • Wife searches for husband she knew so well but metaphorically seems lost to her after the war
      • First lines of couplets have verbs reflecting wife's activities.
        • Some words and phrases refer to the careful treatment of her husbands body, as well as the patient care of his mental state
      • Compares body to inanimate objects
        • His jaw is a "blown hinge", suggesting that he is no longer open to her, perhaps unable to talk of his feelings and experiences
      • Sensual,loving verbs, reflecting 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
      • Patience
      • Care of love
      • War Imagery
        • Impact of war
          • The man has a "grazed heart", perhaps  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.
      • Death Imagery
      • Pain Imagery
      • Source of the problem is not physical but rather mental
    • Comparison
      • In Paris With You
        • The male speaker in the poem In Paris with You is unwilling to discuss his experiences of the past, instead he is keen to focus on the present. The husband in The Manhunt is similarly closed on the subject of the past.
      • The Farmers Bride and To His Coy Mistress
        • The Manhunt is written from the perspective of a woman exploring her feelings for her husband and their relationship. Many of the other poems in this collection are from a male point of view, such as The Farmer's Bride and To His Coy Mistress.


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