AQA english poetry exam notes (higher tier)

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  • Created by: ashly
  • Created on: 03-06-13 10:35

Poetry exam revision

The manhunt by Simon Armitage:



·         Written from the perspective of the wife of a soldier who has returned from the war with serious injuries

·         First person narrative

·         Explores the physical and mental effect of living with injuries caused by war 



·         Made up of series of couplets, mostly unrhymed. à Create a sense of fragmentation, which matches the feelings of the soldier's wife as she seeks to understand the man her husband has become.

·         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.

·         Repetition of “only then would he let me…” àshe is slowly over coming his resistance



The title: manhunt

ü  Puns on the idea of the 'manhunt', meaning literally a hunt to capture a man, often a criminalà reflects the wife's search is for the husband who is lost metaphorically after his experience from the war.


ü  And adjectives are used to describe his body as a set of broken objects: His jaw is a "blown hinge",à suggesting that he is no longer open to her, perhaps unable to talk of his feelings and experiences.


ü  also used to describe the wife’s search: “Climb the rungs of his broken ribs” this also reflect the intimacy of husband and wife


ü  The man has a "grazed heart", perhaps literally 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. 


ü  Verbs such as "explore", "handle and hold", "mind and attend" are used to describe the patient and careful treatment the wife gives to her husband as she conducts her search.



ü  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.


Feelings and attitude:

ü  Care, love and patience of the wife for her husband.

ü  She is very patient with her search; it takes the whole poem for the women to “come close” to her husband in the end.

ü  It is also about the pain, the husband experienced during war.

Other info to remember:


ü  The 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. 


ü  "Then, and only then, did I come close". Her search is


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