The Manhunt

Relationship poetry,The Manhunt by Simon Armitage

HideShow resource information

The plot.

The Manhunt is written from the view of the wife of a soldier who has returned form war with serious injuries. The poem explores the physical and mental effects of living with injuries given from when on active service in the armed forces and the family trying to cope.

1 of 5


  • Series of couplets, mostly unrhymed. Sense of fragmentation, which describes the feelings that the wife has trying to get closer to her husband slowly.
  • The couplets describe each phrase of the wife getting closer.
  • The poem ends when she gets close.
2 of 5


  • The title is a pun, 'manhunt' is a hunt for a man who is lost, suggests that the man in the poem is lost and the wife is trying to find him. He is lost to her metaphorically after the war.
  • Many of the first lines have verbs in, as she begins to search the body.
  • She refers to parts of the body metaphorically comparing them to inanimate objects rather than personal features.
  • His jaw is a "blown hinge", suggesting that he is no longer open to her, perhaps unable to talk of his feelings and experiences.
  • There are lots of sensual, loving verbs in the poem, reflecting the 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", The idea of the ladder is reflective of the effort involved in the wife's gradual search for answers.
3 of 5

Attitudes, themes and ideas

  • The manhunt is about the patience and care of love, she is taking her time to explore her husbands body and she is doing it carefully and with love.
  • The image of the metal bullet still inside him as a "foetus" suggests that, like having a baby, the couple's relationship will be forever changed by what he has gone through.
  • metaphor of "a sweating, unexploded mine buried deep in his mind". The source of the problem is not physical but mental, and threatens to cause problems at any time. The importance of the wife's care and delicacy is highlighted by her discovery of this problem.
  •  Her search is not fully successful, she only comes "close", and only after she realises that her husband's problems lie as much in memories of his experiences as they do in his physical scars.
4 of 5


In paris with you:

  • The male speaker is unwilling to talk about his past experiences, he wants to focus on the present.

The farmer's Bride // To his coy mistress:

  • These are from a male's point of view but also trying to capture love and further understand their partner and get them to open up to them.
5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all AQA Anthology resources »