The Manhunt Poem Analysis - Relationships Cluster

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The Manhunt
The poem is about the intimate relationship between the speaker and her lover.
Summary: It describes the physical war wounds the lover has suffered in the upper part of his body.
Finally it describes the mental wound the lover has suffered and its effect.
Love ­ the marriage and the struggle of trying to get back into his mind.
Themes: War ­ the cause of the speaker's lover's distress.
Regardless of how much someone is scarred, whether it is physically or psychologically, you can always try and fix them.
Key Messages: However sometimes you cannot fix them and have to accept that and move on.
Marriage and love is a journey like anything else in life, it has its ups and downs but if you truly love one another, you will
put everything into making things better.
The poem is in couplets which relates to the two people in the relationship.
It is a free verse poem
Although some of the couplets rhyme, most don't which adds to the sense of fragmentation of the soldier's wife as she
seeks to understand the man her husband has become.
Structure: 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.
The poem is divided into separate couplet long stanzas which emphasises how this describes a slow and step-by-step
process and allows the reader to explore the husband's mind and body in the same way in which his wife has.
Imagery ­ The poem includes vivid imagery that is related to the human body, to the mechanics of familiar objects of war.
`Feel the hurt of his grazed heart' - The bullet has grazed his heart and it has hurt him emotionally and she's
trying to emphasise with him to feel him.
`The foetus of metal beneath his chest'- A 'foetus' is supposed to grow and if the metal is shrapnel and it moved
much like a foetus then it would kill him at any moment.
`Then and only then, did I come close' - She came 'close' to her husband but she pauses at the comma to actually
admit defeat. However she has to understand that she can never completely fix him but she can mend him and
help him get through these difficult times.
Rhymes ­ `trace & face' `chest & rest' `thumb & lung'.
Language: Half-rhymes ­ `hurt & heart'.
Repetition ­ mostly of `and' and `the' at the beginning of these lines give the poem intensity and makes the lines more
Metaphors - suggests that his body has become a collection of broken objects and the poet could also be suggesting that
the damage has taken away some of his humanity and with that he has lost who he was. They also remind us of how fragile
the human body is.
`frozen river' ­ perhaps scar tissue
`blown hinge' ­ used to join things together, perhaps its broken, unable to talk and no longer open to her
`porcelain collar-bone' ­ porcelain is a precious material, delicate and fragile
`fractured rudder' ­ used to steer boats, cannot move on in their relationship
Puns -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.
Prominent verbs - reflect 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.
The voice/speaker is the soldier's wife who has had to endeavour the long healing process of her husband returning from
Voice: war.
The voice is patient as she has had to allow the healing process to happen `then and only then' displays the sort of time
she had to wait for him to finally open up to her.
Tone: The tone of the poem is quite sensitive and shows great feelings of the struggles between the voice and their lover.
I think that the poem is about the struggles of married life and how each couple choose to overcome obstacles such as
Reader climbing `the rungs of his broken ribs' in order to get to the next stage in their recovery. I get this impression because of
the way the poem is structured. The free-verse style of the poem makes the poem seem as if the verses are the step-by-
Response: step pathway to overcoming their own obstacle as a couple and the steps to take by the speaker in order to allow her to
`come close' to her husband again after his traumatic experience of `intimate days' and `passionate nights'.
Compare with...
Nettles ­ about a father protecting his son Sonnet 116 ­ The idea that love doesn't alter


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