Both poems explore strong feelings about their partners. The poem Quickdraw expresses dislike and rage towards the Duffy partner, as she compares their relationship to being like a duel in a Western film, whereas in Manhunt the poem explores feelings of shock and sympathy as the female persona, Laura, tries to reconnect with her husband after his return from war due to injury.
In Quickdraw there is a fractured relationship presented to us. The poet reveals this as there is no rhyming pattern but there is internal rhyming “groan” and “alone” these are throughout the poem and they show her feelings. The word ‘groan’ connotes that she is in pain and therefore that the relationship broken as it is hurting her. The word ‘alone’ furthers this idea by suggesting that she even though she is in relationship, she feels isolated and not in a supportive partnership. This also suggests that they don’t match or have any harmony between them and that there is separation between them.
Another device used by Duffy to show this feeling of isolation is through the use of` short sentence “I’m all alone” to create tension. Duffy also uses split lines “you’ve wounded me” and “through the heart” this shows deferred enjambment as “you’ve wounded me” is in stanza 2 whereas “through the heart” is in stanza 3. The effect of this enjambment is that as the lines are split, it reflects the split in the relationship and emphasises how far apart they are, highlighting the distance between them.
Duffy uses ellipsis “and this … and this …” The ellipsis emphasises that this will continue as it gives no clear resolution or end, suggesting that their argument will keep going as will her anger towards her partner. This idea of their distant relationship is also shown through the structure. The poem has 4 stanzas consisting of 4 lines each this suggests that they’re going to be constantly fighting between them as the poem form is regular.
In Manhunt however we see the reverse; here is a presentation of a close relationship revealed through the structure as each stanza in the poem is a couplet. The use of couplets suggests a matched pair and therefore implying closeness. This is developed through the use of rhyme with each stanza ending in a rhyme “phase” and “days” or assonance “explore” and “jaw.” In stanza 1 Armitage makes the reader think that it’s a cliché love poem “after the first phase …” this leads you on to think it will be a love poem when it switches from cliché to the unexpected “frozen river/face” this is a change the reader doesn’t expect this as it doesn’t link with the first stanza. The word ‘frozen’ connotes something being trapped, static and cold, all of which you would not expect from someone in a love poem as it suggests a distance. The fact that it is his face which is frozen implies that he is unable to reveal his emotions so therefore the narrator of the poem, Laura, does not know how he feels and describes her husband as being locked up in the confines in his mind. All of which suggest that their previous connection from the ‘first phases’ has now been lost.
Another technique employed by the poets is the use of metaphorical language which both poems use. Duffy uses metaphorical Western references “high noon, slung, guns” they are comparisons to the relationship and what’s gone wrong in it through their communication. Duffy use Westerns as they are associated with tough guys who do not show their emotions, instead drowning their sorrows in hard liquor. She uses the stereotype of a gun duel to help the reader imagine two people facing each other, each ready to fight, as a visual metaphor of how she feels about their relationship.
Duffy uses the phones as guns “squeeze the trigger of my tongue” this shows that her speech is like shooting and that language is used to harm and wound the partner. In the poem she is desperate to talk “wide of the mark” this shows she isn’t getting her point