Manhunt: Rhyme and War

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Poetry Essay: Manhunt
How does Simon Armitage display the impact that war can have upon a relationship within ‘Manhunt’?

Simon Armitage displays the impact that war can have upon a relationship by using a large range of methods to make the poem interesting. The first technique that he uses is ambiguity. He uses this in the title ‘Manhunt’. Its metaphoric meaning is about the relationship between the man and his wife and how she tries to find her husband again after the war has taken him away from her. She feels like she has lost him even though he has just returned.

The poem is written in first person and from the perspective of the wife to show how she feels about her husband returning back from the war. When Simon uses the phrase “after the first phase” this implies that this only the beginning of the journey that is about to take place. It also implies that this is a long process and that she is trying to take it step by step.

The phrases “and handle and hold…and mind and attend…and finger and thumb” are like those used in wedding vows only they have been altered so that it shows the vows that she is repeating have changed because her husband has changed. I think it means that she feels like she is marrying her husband again because he is not the same and she is getting to know him again after the impact of war and the long time apart.

There is a constant repetition of the words “only then” which tells us how long this journey was taking. It puts emphasis on time that this takes and shows us that though the poem is short; the journey being told took much longer. It also shows us how restricted their relationship had become as it is no longer as free as it was before her husband returned.

The phrase “Only then would he let me” shows us that her husband is very reluctant to her coming close to him. He does not want her to feel the hurt and the pain that he is feeling. He feels like he has let his wife down.

The lines “and feel the hurt of...
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