Analysis Of Long Distance II By Tony Harrison

Pages: 5 (1086 words) Published: October 4, 2017


Tony Harrison’s Long Distance II is a poem pondering the loss of our beloved, and how some of us cope with said loss. When someone we love is abruptly and prematurely taken from us, it is only natural if we experience grief. But to Harrison it seems many of us do our best to put restraints on our feelings, almost like we are embarrassed by our grief, as if it was illegal. To uncover what might lie hidden in between the lines, I will in this essay delve into Harrison’s thoughts and try to decipher his text. After all it seems clear what the poem is concerning when scraping the surface, but can we find any hidden layers regarding how the father deals with the loss of his wife, in contrast to the son losing his father? And can we at the same time...

A man whose house is littered with memories of his beloved partner, yet he feels a need to hide away her belongings upon receiving visitors. If you were to drop by unannounced “he’d put you off an hour to […] clear away her things and look alone, as though his still raw love were such a crime.” Even in a time of such obvious deep sorrow he seems to have chosen a life of relative solitude, perfectly content in his own bubble expecting her return any time soon. It is mostly when others show up that he is reminded about the reality of his situation, which in return forces him to hide away said mementos. It is unclear to me exactly why, but I feel there must be deeper reasoning behind it, rather than that of a man of old whose emotions are so deeply buried he cannot even get in touch with them around other people anymore. Perhaps the elements of reality, i.e. the son, is what forces him to move out of his much delightful comfort-zone and face the tragedy that is the loss of his wife. But when one has entered life’s final stages, it is understandable if one were to put forth the blind eye and continue living a dream, rather than facing and accepting your losses. Is there a way for him to know if he would even be able to carry with him this burden? Could he not risk death himself simply from working through something so horrible? No, he could not risk believing she would not...

The focus is now on two people who appear to have passed away, most likely the father, finally joining his wife. In the opening sentence, we can also find a reference to the disbeliefs earlier put forth by the narrator: “I believe life ends with death, and that is all.”, which is completely contradictory to his fathers’ beliefs. The narrator does not believe they have “both gone shopping […]”, he believes him to be dead and gone, never to return. Yet “[…] in [his] new black leather phone book, there’s [the father’s] number, and the disconnected number [he’ll] still call.” Even though he initially seemed reluctant to accept his father’s way of handling his grief, he finds himself repeating the exact same ritual he did, by keeping the memories alive, pretending that they still...
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