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Explore Armitage`s presentation of his relationship with his parents in the poems: "Mother, any distance" and "My father thought" Simon Armitage`s two poems are from a collection called "Book of Matches

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Explore Armitage`s presentation of his relationship with his parents in the poems: "Mother, any distance" and "My father thought" Simon Armitage`s two poems are from a collection called "Book of Matches", this is based on a party game where you have to talk about your life, in the space of time it takes for the match to burn out (hence the name). You start with facts and then go on to feelings .The moments that Simon Armitage has chosen are defined moments with his parents, he has wrote about his relationship with each of his parents and has used poetic descriptions of times with each of his parents. In the poem: "Mother, any distance", Simon Armitage starts by describing how important his mother was to him. The first word he uses is "Mother" and he is addressing her in second person narrative and as if he was talking directly to her. After, follows "any distance greater than a single span requires a second pair of hands", it has 2 meanings and the phrase is a metaphor, one being measuring and needing help doing it but there is a second meaning in it that measuring is going through life and needing help going through life when you can't do it yourself. "Requires a second pair of hands" is saying that he has needed his mother lots to help him. "You" is direct address and in the second person narrative like before, backing up the fact as if he were talking to her directly and personally and the poem is a tribute to his mother. ...read more.


"to fall or fly" this is alliteration and fate is the kite/the son destiny and whether he flies will be the work of his mother as she has guided and helped him through life, on the last two lines there is a rhyming couplet with "sky and fly". The relationship between the mother and son is of deep affection and at the start they were very close but have grown apart over the years. In the first 3 lines it represents how close they are as the mother helps him when he is in need doing things. In the second stanza he mentions back to base and reporting and this is telling the mother what he is doing as measuring is his life doings and experiences. As the two grow further part they are left in a dilemma as when it says something has to give this is more than just losing touch as one of them has to let go and does the mother let go and lose touch with her son or does he let go and disappoint his mother and gain full independence or do they carry on and start tension between the two as he will want to go and live his life but the mother will want to hold onto the past. In the end he has to make the move and this was probably a very emotional event as he lets go and the mother should feel better knowing that she has taught him and brought him up for living independently and fine without him and he is probably grateful but will also feel guilty for his decision. ...read more.


The relationship between the father and the son is a traditional and old fashioned relationship where not much affection or feelings are shown. The father does not appear to be the most admirable father as he is quick to criticise his son when he has done something stupid or wrong and he doesn't rate much of his son and when he got his ear pierced he just blamed it on peer pressure and that he has been led on and doesn't believe his son could of done it. The father was unaware that his criticising was personally and mentally hurting his son, in the end of the poem he begins to understand his father as his own voice breaks it is like a turning point as he grows out of rebellious, casual teenage rand is turning into his father. The differences between the fathers` relationship with the son and the mothers` relationship with the son is the fathers` relationship is an old fashioned relationship where the father doesn't show any affection to the son and criticises him and doesn't really help him but mentally scared as this is a defined moment with his father so there mustn't be any loving moments with his father. But with his mother, he shares a much more showing affection relationship whether his mother has helped him through his life when he needed help and she brought him into the world and in the end there is an atmosphere where no-one wants to let go without hurting the other but this is not the case with the father as nobody cares about hurting each other in this relationship. ...read more.

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