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Compare relationship in "manhunt" and "nettles"
I believe that Relationships are the connections between people which can be expressed in many different
ways or situations. In the poem `manhunt' by Simon Armitage he explores the relationship between a wife
and her husband, whom is an injured solider who has returned from war. In nettles, the relationship is
between a farther and his son who has fallen into a "bed of nettles." Both poets show the consideration felt
by the reader of the poem for the other person in the relationship. In the manhunt, the narrator's
consideration is for the mental suffering which her husband is suffering. Similar to Manhunt; in `Nettles' it is
the father's care for the injuries of his son which he feels was caused by the nettles.
Both poets use unusual imagery to present the writers family member as needing protection. In the man
hunt instead of the obvious representation of a solider as strong and powerful, Laura's husband is linked to
fine, precious china, the damaged porcelain collar bone. This means he is described as fragile and precious
because of his injuries, with his punctured lung described as delicate as "parachute silk". These images show
Laura's tenderness for her husband and how she wants to protect him. Similarly, Scannel also chooses
imagery of war for what is really only a minor childhood incident. He refers to the spears of the nettles,
calling them a "regiment" and, when he has cut them down and they have grown back again, he refers to
them as "tall recruits". This war and battle imagery used in the poem helps the reader to understand deeper,
about the metaphorical meaning of this poem; that it is not just about comforting his son from the pain of
the nettles, but also about the future pain of which he knows he will experience in his life. He knows that "My
son would often feel sharp wounds again", meaning he will soon in the near future may come across the
same thing but his farther may not be right beside him to help him whenever he is in pain.
Armitage and Scannel both use a firm rhyme scheme. `Manhunt' uses rhyming couplets, with each couplet
used to separate out the different injuries the solider, has including the scar on his face, the broken jaw and
his damaged collar bone. The cheerful and simple rhyme scheme contrasts and is ironic compared with the
serious subject of the poems that the poets are trying to make out and points out the difficulty of his mental
and physical distress of the war which he is now been left traumatized by, with the "unexploded mine buried
deep in his mind". The half rhyme of "mine" and "mind" means there is a clear link between the violence of
an exploding mine and the mental state of the soldier. The simple thyme scheme of ABAB which is repeated
throughout `Nettles' is also a contrast to the main theme of pain and suffering which in the writers negative
view, his son will have to suffer through his life.
Both poets react physically to the injuries of their loved one. Scannel; uses anger, conveyed by the violent
language "slashed...till not a nettle stood", while Armitage describes how the wife takes more caution tracing
the scarring of her husband's physical injuries. While Scannel brings his anger towards his son's accident in a
harmful way, "I took my hook and slashed in fury", Laura's voice is patient and gentle: "only then could I".
Through both poets' choice of words, we too can feel not only the physical pain of the victims, but the grief
of both farther and wife at witnessing the injuries, the "white blisters beaded" on the small boy and the
"fractured rudder of shoulder-blade" of the man. At this point, both realise that the best they can offer is
The wife's love seems to have no time limit shown by the repetition of the phrase "only then" suggests that
the wife believes that her patient, supportive love, may heal her husband's mental and physical scars of his
traumatized experience during the war, even though it may take a long time she's willing to wait to get her
husband back. Scannell, on the other hand, sees with anguish that his love cannot protect his son for ever.
Despite all of his attempts to get rid of the nettles, he knows that his efforts are only limited in their
effectiveness; it only takes "two weeks" of the "busy sun and rain" for them to grow back. Although Scannell
conveys helplessness against nature and the passage of time, Armitage carries a message of hope, that time
is immaterial to love.
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By exploring the wife's loving protection of her husband and her desire to "feel" his hurt and "come close"
to understanding his injuries so that she can help him and hunt him back to whom the person he was once