Compare how difficult relationships are portrayed by Simon Armitage in 'Harmonium' and James Fenton in 'In Paris with You'

Decent Essays

In both “Harmonium” and “In Paris with you”, a difficult relationship is portrayed though Armitage and Fenton write of two different kinds of relationships, the reader has no problem detecting the difficult relationship.
One of the very first things we see in “In Paris with You” is the speakers inability to say the words ‘I’m in love you’, frequently he says “I’m in Paris with you” as a replacement, using the city that is associated with love and romance instead. Perhaps Fenton is trying to portray that the speaker was hurt through a relationship in the past which is not allowing him to say the word “love” due to a painful association. The only times the speaker ever mentions “love” is with negative connotations, he says “do not talk to …show more content…

In this way Armitage may be suggesting that they use to have a close relationship, but have grown distant with time and age. The speaker looks back onto, perhaps fonder times where the Harmoniums “hummed harmonics still struck a chord” and “where father and son,/each in their time” had sung, implying that the speaker wants to have the relationship he used to have with his father, however the speaker still is not able to express his feelings clearly enough, only able to “mouth” a “shallow or sorry phrase”. In “In Paris with You” there are also mentions of the past, in the very first line the speaker says “don’t talk to me of love, I’ve had an earful” implying that the relationship is purely physical in his mind, this is further implied in the third stanza when the speaker asks to forgo a date. “Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre,/ if we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame,/ if we skip the Champs Elysées,/And remain here” in these three lines the speaker is very specific, this implies that going to the Louvre and Notre Dame is something he has done before, perhaps with his last lover, and is purposely trying to avoid doing it again and thereby avoiding a relationship. The speaker asks to skip the date and the romance, the speaker is not asking for love but sex, he says he’s “in Paris with the slightest thing [she does]”, “with [her] eyes,” “[her] mouth” and “all points south”, all very physical descriptions implying sex.

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