The Manhunt by Simon Armitage- In-depth Analysis

  • Created by: Zahra R.
  • Created on: 23-05-12 09:46

In The Manhunt, Armitage takes typical blazon love poetry and turns it into a negative, perverse form of blazon poetry through a combination of metaphorical language and language from the semantic field of warfare. The persona speaks in third person which is unusual, and seems to be addressing the reader rather than the subject of the poem.

'After the first phase,

after passionate nights and intimate days,'

The 'first phase' seems to suggest that this 'Manhunt' of trying to find the man that the persona once knew was carried out in a series of phases and that the sexual intimacy in the rebuilding of their relationship was merely only the beginning. This is strange because usually a relationship begins with getting to know each other then having a sexual relationship, but in this poem it seems to be the other way around. As the 'first phase' compromised of 'passionate nights and intimate days'.

'only then would he let me trace

the frozen river that ran through his face,'

'only then' seems to suggest that this 'hunt' was carried out in small steps with the persona's partner's consent 'let me'. The 'frozen river' may be interpreted as scarring from his time in the war, or perhaps even tear tracks to explain the emotional trauma he may be going through and the metaphor used 'frozen river that ran through his face' gives imagery of landscapes, bumpy terrain.

'only then would he let me explore

the blown hinge of his lower jaw,'

Again, the repetition of 'only then would he let me' seems to suggest that the persona is not forcing her way through, but allowing her partner to slowly open up and 'let me'. The verb 'explore' seems very thorough, the persona doesn't want to miss anything. Armitage uses a strong adjective 'blown' to describe the persona's partner's jaw. The 'blown hinge of his lower jaw' seems to be used by Armitage in a figurative way, perhaps showing the 'man's' inability to express his emotions, or perhaps his refusal to speak about them, maybe he wants to lock his feelings away, to forget. Also 'hinge' brings up imagery of doors so if a door has a 'blown hinge' then it would be impossible to open.

'and handle and hold

The damaged, porcelain collar-bone,'

The verbs 'handle and hold' seem to be very gentle, this is due to the alliteration of the soft 'h' sound. The persona gently 'handles and holds' her partner's collar-bone. The metaphorical language of the persona's 'porcelain collar-bone' by Armitage is effective in conveying the persona's care with her partner as 'porcelain' is very delicate and easily 'damaged'. Take notice here that in the first three stanzas, 'phase' and 'days', 'trace' and 'face', 'explore' and 'jaw' Armitage uses rhyming couplets however in this stanza Armitage begins to slowly split off into half rhyme as the persona moves from surface injuries to deeper injuries as the 'collar bone' is inside and cannot be explored from a skin-deep relationship.

'and mind




the ideas are taken from mr bruff on Youtube

Zahra R.


they arent :O i dont know him... i did it myself

Chloe **


this is SO helpful thank you so much! 



Thankyou  very much, this is helping me do the exam!



saved to favourites - thanks for the help :D



Thank you!!



Thank you, it really helps! x



where you are talking about the broken ribs the rhyme scheme could have completely broken like the man .... this also helped me a lot thank you



so well explained,especially 'the parachute silk' quote, thanks sooo much






Danke ich habe  kommentieren dieses Gedicht abgeschlossen ^.^



This is great!

Amazingly written with a formal and almost professional edge to it!



thankyou so much is this actually very helpful




Great analysis you got there

This is better and helpful then any other website I have investigated



Thank you for the analysis - it's really really helpful and much more in depth than any other source I've come across! The part where you said you couldn't think of anything though - where the rhyme scheme is completely lost in the ribs stanza - perhaps this is due to her loss of words, her pausing and stumbling as she realises how far the injuries go? She's perhaps beginning to lose he sense of clarity and methodical "hunting" as it now begins to settle into her and hurt her that her husband/lover has been so emotionally traumatised. This probably is not be the real interpretation, but that's how I'm picturing it at the moment, if it helps any! 



(expanding on my previous comment) Also, considering that everything begins to come back together again in the next stanza, perhaps the loss of rhyming in the ribs stanza is reflective of her panic as she realises that something has gotten past his rib age and to his heart, and the resolved half rhyme shows that this initial panic is over and she is collecting herself together again as she realises it has only grazed his heart and nothing else, that it's better now but there's still a way to go. (You've probably thought of this already, sorry, but I'm kind of thinking out loud as I write this XD)



Thanks for this, very useful and thorough. Anybody know if the author has done this sort of thing for the 'Relationships' section of the GCSE Poetry?






Thx. It's gonna help me with the asessement tommorow