I am going to compare the following four poems. They are ‘Hitcher’, by Simon Armitage, ‘Stealing’, by Carol Ann Duffy, also ‘Tichbornes Elegy’ and ‘The Lab’ from the pre-1914 collection.
Firstly I will discuss the main themes in each of the poems starting with Hitcher. Hitcher is about a man who goes out in his car and kindly stops and picks a hitcher up. The man then goes on to have a conversation with the hitcher, but then suddenly he just turns on him and beats him up for no apparent reason and then throws him out of the moving vehicle. The driver is almost like a schizophrenic because he has two sides to him, theres the man goes out of his way to pick a hitcher up and then theres the man who just beats people up for the sake of it. This is obviously a crime and the driver is now a criminal. Simon Armitage deals with this strangely because he just changes the subject, he says ‘the outlook for the day was moderate to fair’, as if nothing had happened.
Secondly I will talk about Stealing, which is about a man who beats up a snowman and pinches things that are useless to him. He has no friends and is a bit of a loner so strangely he talks to the snowman as if he is human. The part that is alike with Hitcher is at the beginning when he says, ‘I wanted him, a mate’ and then goes on to say ‘I started with the head’. So like hitcher he is suddenly changing from someone who wants a friend into a person who beats things or people up. Why? Because in both poems they are angry and frustrated and just take their anger out on the nearest object or person.
Thirdly is Tichbornes Elegy which is about a man who is in the Tower of London and is waiting to be executed for treason. The person in the poem never seems to sure of how he feels because one minute he talks about something positive then he just immediately changes to something negative. This is similar Hitcher and Stealing because the writing in this is changing from good to bad, for example, ‘My prime of youth is but a frost of cares, My feast of joy is but a dish of pain’. The writer constantly goes from good to bad and is saying that good is bad. Why?He is always changing things from good to bad like in Hitcher, the driver of the car is good when he picks up the Hithcer but is bad when he turns on him.
Fourthly there is the Laboratory which is about a women who is jealous of ex-boyfriend and his lover. She is at a laboratory offering a man a kiss if he will make here some poison because she hasn’t got any money. She wants to kill them and she knows that she is weaker than the other women that is why she is using the poison. In this poem the women shows a bit of fear because she knows the other women is stronger than her mentally and physically than her, she says ‘If it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me?’. This sentence doesn’t really link with any of the other poems but what does, is the fact that she is going to commit a crime, murder.
All of the poems are monologues, written in first person, which makes them very effective because it makes the reader feel like they are being spoken to personally an makes the it seem more dramatic as you think that these things are true as you believe what the person is saying to you.
In Stealing the poet uses rhetorical questions in order to show us the characters confusion, feelings of isolation and paranoia. One example of this is, ‘You don’t understand a word I`m saying, do you?’. Here the reader sees that the characters emotions are confused and he feels insecure, just like the character in Tichbornes Elegy because the character cant really make his mind up whether some of the best times of his life were good or bad.