‘The Manhunt’ is read by Laura, wife of Eddie Beddoes. Eddie served as a peace-keeper in Bosnia before being discharged due to injury and depression.
- The poem starts with a series of couplets and then the rhyme scheme falters to being mostly unrhymed. This could highlight the disruption the war brought to the couple’s relationship – how increasingly disjointed the nature of their relationship is.
- This also creates a sense of fragmentation, which matches the feelings of the soldier’s wife as she seeks to understand the man her husband has become.
- It could also highlight how broken the man is broken.
Love, Relationships: The poem is narrated from the perspective of Laura ( Eddie’s wife) and discusses the relationship between them. The writer does choose this perspective to demonstrate how warfare experiences can impact family and personal relationships.
Pain and Illness (PTSD): The poem explores the physical and mental consequences of war on a person.
Discovery, Searching, Exploration: The title is a metaphor as no one is being physically chased down, but rather, Laura is looking to understand the man she once knew by exploring his scars –mental and physical- throughout the poem.
“Frozen river ran through his face”
- On a physical level, the adjective “frozen” emphasizes the permanent physical scarring on the man’s face; this reflects the brutality of war and its’ permanent impact.
- On a deeper level, the metaphor of a ‘frozen river’ could signify psychological trauma as the scar goes ‘through his face’; Eddie has traumatic memories that haunt him.
- To sustain the relationship the woman needs to break the ice.
- Eddie has lost the ability to express himself, perhaps out of shellshock but there’s also the social expectation (contextually) to ‘man up’.
“Foetus of metal”
Juxtaposition: foetus connotes new life, birth and happiness but in reality what is growing in him is pain and trauma. It’s also ironic as a fetus is the start of life and affects a parent’s life positively. However, a bullet can kill, can spell the end of life.
Metaphor: 1. the wound is a part of him (just like a baby is to their mother) 2. emasculates Eddie – all his struggle and trauma would stereotypically be associated with the ‘weaker sex’. This just reiterates that war is life-changing… and not in a good way. The description relates to the previous line of a “scan” to find a bullet, which would aid generate empathy, as rather than the happiness of a child, there is the hurt and damage of a bullet.
“Unexploded mine buried deep in his mind”
- The adjective “unexploded” emphasizes the ongoing risk and danger, both to the soldier and those around them.
- The use of “buried” is also significant because it has multiple interpretations; that it is a deep and therefore impactful injury, and secondly that there could’ve been an attempt to ‘cover up’ this injury, due to social standards or fear of being misunderstood.
Similarities & Differences- Comparison to other poems:
A Wife in London: The theme of love and how it has been lost through war. However, in this poem, the couple has been separated by the man’s trauma. In A Wife in London, the couple is separated by death.
Dulce et Decorum Est: Shows the horror of war and its lasting mental effects.
The Soldier: A contrast to the poem as it shows the honour and greatness of war. There is a contextual difference: Brooke writes in 1914 when everyone thought ‘war would be over by Christmas.’
Mametz Wood: Also shows the aftermath and damage war brings. Both poems discuss rediscovery in completely different ways. The theme of war, impact and effects of war, reconnection and rediscovering.