Analysis of Modern Love by Douglas Dunn

Authors Avatar by adiththomasgmailcom (student)

What are the poet’s thoughts and feelings about love?

In Modern Love, Dunn presents many ideas about the functioning of modern love, and they ways in which it differs from what he might perceive as traditional, or true love. He possibly discusses how modern love is superficial, and only a facade, as well as how modern love is interrupted by a variety of other commitments, but also how love is possibly the only escape from an otherwise dull and dreary life.

Dunn initially talks about the superficiality of modern love by talking about how they are ‘enjoying minutes of rented silence’. The fact that it is a ‘rented silence’ suggests that it is only temporary, showing how modern love is not permanent. Furthermore, it could also suggest that to achieve these ‘minutes’, there has been a cost involved, whether monetary or purely symbolic. In addition, it says there is ‘not much to show for love’, further portray how this love is ineffectual, and that not much has been achieved by this love. The fact that they are ‘in a house that is not theirs’ further shows what length this couple has to go to to put up the facade of modern love. The juxtaposition of the word ‘love’ with ‘alone’ further displays the disconnection in the relationship of ‘modern love’. The powerful use of enjambment could be used to signify the constant progression of time throughout this poem, during which no ‘love’ is taking place.

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Furthermore, Dunn discusses how modern love is often interrupted by other commitments, namely, the family. Dunn writes how the ‘under-tens and invalids’ are finally asleep. The reference to what can be assumed to be the elderly as ‘invalids’ is somewhat derogatory, and this could be used to showcase the resentment shown towards them, as they may be responsible for the failures of modern love. In addition, the fact that they can only procure ‘minutes’ of ‘silence’ from this, shows how much these other commitments intrude into their love, and the fact that they prefer to ‘enjoy’ the ‘silence’ shows ...

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