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In Paris with You Analysis

By TrevorWilliams Feb 26, 2013 1408 Words
Analysis of poem
This is an interesting poem that appears to deal with the subject of a person rebounding from a failed relationship into a new romantic encounter set against the cliched romantic backdrop of Paris. However, upon closer inspection it seems that despite the overt romantic language and imagery there is also a dark side of this poem suggesting that the heartbroken speaker is merely looking for some company to help them deal with the fallout of a failed relationship.The title of the poem, 'In Paris With You' establishes what the reader supposes is the setting of the poem: Paris. It is perhaps useful to remember that some people refer to Paris as 'the city of romance' or 'the most romantic city in the world' due to its association with romantic literature, 19th century liberalism, the sexual freedoms of the 1960s and a general racial stereotype that maintains that French people enjoy pleasure above all else. Stereotypes aside (we should never deal with stereotypes) Paris is a beautiful and historic city perfect for a romantic trip away or 'dirty weekend'. The title of the poem immediately puts the reader in mind of romance, particularly that the title indicates that the speaker is in Paris with someone else. It could be that the poet is establishing a cliched setting for a poem that despite its overtly romantic language is actually dealing with what could be an awkward sexual encounter between two strangers. On the other hand, the poem could be a celebration of finding new love, or an exciting and unexpected romance in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  The poem starts with a morose tone and imagery suggestive of a break-up. The speaker starts with the negative imperative 'don't talk to me about love' which immediately tells the reader that love is a difficult subject for the speaker. The speaker goes on to explain how they get tearful when they have had a drink, punning the phrase 'walking wounded' which is a military phrase referring to someone who is hurt but can carry on fighting, with the phrase 'talking wounded' implying that despite their broken heart and bruised feelings, the speaker will continue to look for love, or at the very least, some company. The speaker continues to develop the theme of surviving heartbreak by comparing his or her situation with that of being marooned or being a hostage. Presumably, the reference to being marooned invokes a sense of isolation and vulnerability, just as the word 'hostage' suggests that they are trapped, perhaps trapped in their feelings for an old relationship. Interestingly, the first stanza puts me in mind of a couple meeting in a bar and trying to strike up a conversation where one of the two is a little unwilling to play the game. The last line of the stanza, 'but I'm in Paris with you' suggests a contrasting set of emotions, whereby the speaker's unhappy feelings are somehow tempered by the fact that he or she is with someone special in Paris. Either way the structural purpose of the opening stanza helps to establish a point of comparative contrast with the rest of the poem as it beings to develop and challenge ideas about love and romance. Stanza two continues to develop some of the context or backstory to the poem. We, the reader, learn that the speaker is unhappy, that they've been through a mess. We learn that they could be on the rebound, which means that having had their heart broken they have stumbled into a new relationship very quickly not because they are in love but that they are unhappy and want some tender loving care. Usually people talk about a rebound relationship as a negative experience because one person isn't committed to the relationship and simply doesn't want to be alone, whereas the other is falling love, either way it usually ends badly for both parties. The poet plays with the notion of rebounding off one relationship and into another by rhyming the words 'rebound' and 'bound', both notably at the end of consecutive lines (end rhyme), whichi suggests that the speaker doesn't care where the new relationship is going (where it is bound). The use of end rhyme adds a satisfying abruptness to the idea of stumbling into a new relationship without caring where it is going. The stanza ends with the refrain 'I'm in Paris with you' only this time omitting 'but' which gives the line a slightly more positive tone. The third and fourth stanzas are very interesting. The speaker asks if it is possible to miss the tour of Paris including the most famous landmarks (Notre Dame etc) and stay in the 'sleazy hotel room' instead. One reading would suggest that this is a wonderfully romantic gesture with the lovers staying in bed rather than going on a sightseeing tour. However, the word 'sleazy' bothers me as I'm not convinced that the speaker is being ironic and making a joke about staying bed for more "sleazy" purposes. The two stanzas flow into one another using enjambment to show that this thought process is taking place in the same moment. The poet establishes the setting of a 'sleazy' hotel room which contrasts nicely with what a reader would usually expect of a love poem taking place in Paris. My impression is that the poet and the speaker are trying to be purposefully ambiguous (no obvious meaning). The scene it meant to be a little bit sleazy and a little bit romantic, which befits the idea of a person throwing themselves into a new relationship when the wounds of the last one have not yet healed. These people are only just getting to know each other and 'learn' about each other and what they are. The word 'what' suggests that the speaker isn't sure what is going on and what his or her role in all this actually is. The line 'doing this and that' is an awkward phrase that refers to them having sex, but why dress it in such an awkward way? Does this imply that the speaker is a little ashamed by what's going on, or is it just a playful joke about having some naughty sex in a sleazy hotel room in Paris? It isn't clear and it isn't meant to be, after all love, passion and even brief encounters are exciting yet extremely complex and confusing experiences. The fourth stanza appears to focus the setting even more emphatically, with the speaker describing the crack on the ceiling and referring to the view of Paris from the bedroom window. The walls are peeling, the ceiling is cracked, this clearly isn't a five stat hotel, but perhaps that doesn't matter because these people have each other and that's all that really matters. On the other hand, the attention to detail could suggest that the speaker is distracted and painfully aware of the unpleasant surroundings, hardly the setting for a great Parisian romance. The final, concluding stanza brings all these competing emotions together in a game of word play and imagery. The speaker could be said to be swapping the word 'love' for the word 'Paris' as in 'I'm in Paris [love] with your eyes', which could suggest that he or she is uncomfortable saying the word 'love' or equally that due to the power and beauty of Paris the comparison is a huge compliment. If the poet is using metonymy (swapping closely associated words for effect Paris/Love) it could be to emphasise the the growing love between the lovers or to highlight the awkward tension between them.  The speaker continues with the awkward sexual jokes or double entendre with the line 'all points south' which probably means the other person's genitals, but also mean that things arn't working out and are in fact, heading south. The speaker intervenes in the poem by asking 'am I embarrassing you' which could be a question directed at the reader, who in this instance could feel like a voyeur watching a couple's intimate moment, or it could be directed at the other person in the poem. Again, it could simply be playful jokes, or could relate to something more troubling. The poem ends with the refrain 'I'm in Paris with you' which is a complete declarative statement which gives the poem a sense of closure, but doesn't really answer all the questions. 

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