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‘Compare the presentation of love in three poems out of the four set to study.’

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Introduction

'Compare the presentation of love in three poems out of the four set to study.' The poems that I have decided to investigate are 'Long Distance' by Tony Harrison, 'The Sick Equation' by Brian Patten and 'I Shall Return' by Claude McKay. I have selected these three poems because although they each represent love, they exemplify different aspects of love. 'Long Distance' is a poem based on the loss of the poet's mother and how his father copes with her expiration. 'The Sick Equation' relates to the poet's pessimistic views on love and 'I Shall Return' reveals the poet's love for his country. While studying love poems, I have found out that love poetry has an extensive history. Love poems have been written for thousands of years and are very traditional. They are also part of our edification and culture. The first poems which I have decided to scrutinise it 'Long Distance'. In stanza one, the poet, Tony Harrison, commence by stating that his mother passed away two years beforehand. He goes on to describe the typical actions that his father carried out for his wife, in spite of the fact that she is deceased. The poet uses mundane and habitual occurrences to draw the reader into the poem. ...read more.

Middle

In 'I Shall Return', the poet ceases to remember his fond and treasured childhood memories of Jamaica. He now emphasises the pain he has felt in America and he also emphasises his yearning to return to his homeland. The second poem which I have decided to study is 'I Shall Return' by Claude McKay. In stanza one, the poet begins by repeating the title twice, "I shall return again, I shall return". This effectively accentuates his need and lust to return. In the rest of the stanza, he cleverly uses colour and alliteration to describe the beauty of Jamaica. The second line is brimming with alliteration, for example "laugh and love" and "watch with wonder". This alliteration helps the poem to continue gracefully. In the third and fourth lines, the poet uses very vivid colours such as "golden noon", "Blue-black smoke" and "Sapphire Skies". He does this to depict Jamaica's radiant colours and it's exoticness. In the second stanza, the poet expands on the vision of Jamaica by describing the scenery. He brings in movement, which cause the image to be brought to life. Captivating and descriptive language such as "loiter by the streams" and "waters rushing down the mountain passes" add a certain depth and intensity to the poet's imagery. ...read more.

Conclusion

He believes that "they too still harboured dreams of flying free". He comes to the conclusions that even the bride and groom want freedom and don't want to be tied down. In the last stanza, the poet realises that his cynical judgement of love was wrong, "I was wrong of course". He now knows that his parents were wrong and it is ridiculous to think that everyone has experienced the same life and to think "others are as damaged as ourselves". He understands that he had a misguided impression of love and is thankful that he now knows better. He doesn't want to stay caught in his parent's sick equation, he wants to take love and invalidate the lessons his parents taught him. This poem is very sad. The poet went through his whole life rejecting love because of the "parental hatred" he experienced as a young child. I can acknowledge that he suffered a lot of pain as he grew up. As a young adult, he became a recluse and kept himself to himself. It has great emotional power. This links to 'I Shall Return', as the last couplet of the sonnet is incredibly emotionally powerful. They both have a strong message. In 'I Shall Return', the message is that the poet shall return and it has an emphasis on his pain and suffering. In 'The Sick Equation', the powerful message is that love is pleasurable and enchanting. ...read more.

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