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How do the writers explore and present the themes of conscience, violence and murder in the poems "Hitcher" by Simon Armitage, "Salome" by Carol Ann Duffy and "The man he killed" by Thomas Hardy?

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Introduction

How do the writers explore and present the themes of conscience, violence and murder in the poems 'Hitcher' by Simon Armitage, 'Salome' by Carol Ann Duffy and 'The Man He Killed' by Thomas Hardy? 'Hitcher' was written by Simon Armitage in 2001, two years earlier (in 1999) Carol Ann Duffy wrote 'Salome' but the oldest poem I intend to analyse is 'The Man He Killed' written by Thomas Hardy in 1902. All three poems explore the three themes of conscience, violence and murder however all the authors express them in different ways. Simon Armitage's poem was about a psychotic and jealous slacker who dreamed of being free. He sees a hitcher who is free and a feeling of envy overcomes him, he then picks the hitcher up and in a series of sarcastic violent beatings he throws the hitcher out of the car and afterwards feels very proud and is portrayed as quite a narcissist through being very arrogant. This is conveyed via several sarcastic comments such as "Stitch that, I remember thinking; you can walk from there" this is sarcastic because obviously after all the hitcher has been through if he's not dead he's going to need stitches and quite certainly he would not be able to walk. ...read more.

Middle

However all this makes the reader feel sympathy for him as we think it's not his fault. But the narrator makes this poem as direct as can be as to make his message clear. The theme of murder again is justifiable. The fourth verse points out that no-one considers the consequences of joining the army; "He thought he'd 'list, perhaps". 'Salome' written by Carol Ann Duffy is based on a bible story, the bible story is that Salome was the daughter of a woman named Herodias who was married to King Herod's brother, after he died Herodias remarried to King Herod. John the Baptist was against this. Salome then did a 'dance' for King Herod who in return gave her one wish. She asked her mother for advice and as Herodias was infuriated by John the Baptist she asked her daughter to wish for his head on a platter. That is the story of Salome. Anyway, the narrator is portrayed as arrogant when she says "Ain't life a bitch" and promiscuous when she says "woke up with a head on the pillow beside me-whose?" and psychotic when she says "I've done it before; and doubtless I'll do it again", this doesn't seem too bad until later she says "head on a platter", proving that she is an absolute psychotic maniac who is repeatedly decapitating her victims. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 'Salome' her motivation was misandrism (hatred of men). Finally in 'Hitcher' his motive was jealousy. When he says "I thumbed a lift to where the car was parked" he is 'pretending' to be a hitchhiker. Salome has an erratic rhyming scheme, where words half rhyme. Hitcher also uses enjambment where he lines run on to the next line. The narrator in 'Salome' uses many devices including metaphor when she says "Ain't life a bitch", simile when she says "Like a lamb to the slaughter" also here it shows premeditated killing of an innocent victim. And she uses triplication twice, first in stanza two "Simon, Andrew, John?" and again in line 29-30 "the blighter, the beater or biter". This shows she's promiscuous. Also in 'Salome' she uses stanzas of unequal length; another factor which contributes to her being extremely mentally unstable. The poem sounds more conversational which shows she's very casual about violence. In 'Hitcher' he uses no rhyming scheme but each stanza is of equal length. There is no rhythm either. In 'The Man He Killed' there is a regular rhythm and rhyming scheme he does this so it's easy to follow. All this contributes to him being direct. 'Hitcher' uses several metaphors for example "Stitch that" which is a pun because obviously IF he survives he'll need stitches. It also uses personification "the ansaphone kept screaming" and "the breeze to run its fingers through his hair. ...read more.

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