In Paris With You

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SUMMARY

In Paris With You is a recount by a narrator whose relationship has just ended and is now in Paris with someone else. This suggests that a long-term relationship has ended and the speaker is now enjoying a less serious 'fling' The narrator doesn't want to examine the aftermath of the serious relationship: he doesn't want to talk things over or even visit galleries or landmarks; he just wants to enjoy the moment rather than thinking of the future or the past.

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STRUCTURE

The poem has four stanzas of five or six lines, with a longer stanza of nine lines in the centre, acting as a chorus in which the mood of the poem changes. The first half of the poem deals with the lead up to the current situation; the second half is concerned with enjoying the present. The repeated line "I'm in Paris with you" - and variations on it - can be described as a refrain (lines that are repeated in a song). The use of repetition reflects the speaker's insistent concentration on the present.

The poem has a regular rhyme scheme in the four stanzas, adding to the poem's musical quality. The rhyme scheme in these four stanzas can be described as a-b-c-c-b (with the final b in the extra line of the last stanza). The stanza in the centre of the poem makes use of half rhyme. The contrasting rhyme of "Elysees" and "sleazy"gives a comic effect.

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LANGUAGE

In Paris with You opens with an emphatic negative: "Don't talk to me of love". The speaker has "had an earful" and wants to stop thinking about love. The line is repeated at the start of two more stanzas. However, this is not a negative poem but one which celebrates the intimacy of a relationship.

The poem is written in the first person and addresses a lover. There are lines that hint at a conversation with a lover, but we only hear one person's side of the dialogue: "Yes I'm angry" and "Am I embarrassing you?" The poem seems even more intimate; we are almost made to feel as if we're eavesdropping.

There is a repeated use of colloquial (everyday) language, suggesting this is an informal, honest poem. Phrases such as "had an earful","downed a drink or two", "say sod off to sodding Notre Dame" and "Doing this and that" make the poem down-to-earth. Such language also contrasts with the falsely poetic tone often found in literature about love, replacing it to comic effect.

Word play is another technique used to generate humour. The speaker refers to his weariness at having to talk about his failed relationship: "I'm one of your talking wounded", a pun on the phrase 'walking wounded' (used in the context of war), which he then rhymes with "maroonded", a partly nonsense word used to maintain the rhyme scheme. This brings a fun and inventive tone to the poem.

The final stanza repeats "I'm in Paris with..." four times, and offers both comical and sensual references to the speaker's enthusiasm for the person he is with. The line"Am I embarrassing you?" adds to the sense of the exuberant, teasing attitude of the speaker.

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ATTITUDES, THEMES AND IDEAS

The poem is about surfacing from a long-term relationship but not thinking about it in the aftermath. It is about enjoying a time of closeness without having to take responsibility for the past or the future. "I'm in Paris with you"is a mantra (a repeated sound or phrase that can transform you) which contains the key theme of enjoying the present.

In Paris with You rejects the traditional concerns of romance. The famous sights of the usually romantic city of Paris are unimportant to the narrator:

Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre,If we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame,If we skip the Champs Elysées

Instead the speaker concentrates on the "sleazy/Old hotel room" with its "crack across the ceiling" in which the "walls are peeling". These details are unique to the narrator's experience of being in Paris with a lover - "I'm in Paris with the slightest thing you do" - which sums up the poem's message: being together is far more important than typical romantic locations and analytical conversations.

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COMPARISON

Born YesterdayHour

  • The poem compares well to Born Yesterday in that each poem rejects traditional ideas.
  • Hour is also about a relationship blossoming in ordinary settings, focusing on the preciousness of the present time rather than the past and future.
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