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English Literature

Simon Armitage: The Manhunt

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Sample question

In your exam you will be asked to compare a certain aspect of one poem with another. In order to do this, we need to get to know this poem a bit better by considering one of its main aspects.

What follows is a sample question which concentrates on one feature of the poem and an answer (not necessarily complete!) to the question.

Question

Write about the presentation of relationships in The Manhunt and To His Coy Mistress.

Answer

Points you could make:

  • The Manhunt includes detailed and closely observed references to the body of a loved one, reflective of the closeness of the relationship.
  • In To His Coy Mistress there are similar images, yet these represent the fantasy of the male speaker as he tries to convince his mistress to have sex with him.
  • To His Coy Mistress balances the ideal relationship with that which is possible given the time available.
  • Similarly, The Manhunt explores the strength of a relationship that endures even in the most difficult of circumstances.
  • The Manhunt has a female speaker who is determined to search for the man she feels she lost to war. She wants to understand her husband's feelings and so is searching his body for clues.
  • To His Coy Mistress has a male speaker who is similarly determined. However, he feels that time will prevent his relationship flourishing if his mistress does not act with more urgency.

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