in CIE, English Literature, Poetry

Here’s a part of the analysis of Dennis Scott’s poem ‘Marrysong’, tailored towards IGCSE students but also suitable for those studying at a higher level.

To get a full and detailed analysis of this specific poem, click here.

Thanks for reading! For the full CIE IGCSE Poetry Anthology course and many more English Literature and Language courses, click here.

STORY/SUMMARY


There are two characters in the poem. One of them is a male and the other a female. The male is describing the female in terms of the natural landscapes and the ever-changing geography, which is her emotions. Her emotions fluctuate and the man is trying to work out her feelings but they change a lot; at the start, she is angry and feels hurt while the man is trying to figure out why.

Suddenly, her emotions change into a happy mood but straight after she becomes “faultlessly calm”. The man knows that it’s nearly impossible to know her emotions, however, he finds it extraordinary and wonders what kind of things go through her head – he is trying to “chart” her behaviour, to record it and make a note so that he can understand and predict it better, but every time he feels he’s recorded or understood her, she changes unexpectedly. The title sheds light on this lyric poem, showing that these are the characters’ experiences of marriage and partnership.

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THEMES

Marriage / Relationships — the poem is a testament to the idea of marriage, though the marriage between the two characters is not easy, they both value each other and work through hardships, they enjoy the challenge of overcoming difficulties and changes.

Nature — love and fluctuating emotions are explored via natural metaphors, in the same way, that nature is not a fixed or predictable entity, Scott feels that love and relationships are also subject to change, but that is a positive phenomenon that we should embrace instead of becoming frustrated or confused by it.

Love both the man and woman demonstrate extreme love in the poem, but in different ways – the man through his faithfulness and constancy, the woman’s love fluctuates but the man can still see the effects of her love in the form of the “shadows” it casts on their life.

Masculinity vs Femininity — there are opposing masculine and feminine forces at work in the poem, and these are dealt with in quite a traditional manner — the male persona is stable, calm and constant, logical and rational; the female is shifting and emotional, but creative and energetic — these forces are shown to perfectly complement each other and work well together.

BONUS CONTENT:

POSSIBLE ESSAY QUESTIONS 

  1. Explore the ways in which Scott uses powerful words and images in “Marrysong”. 
  2. How does Scott strikingly depict marriage in “Marrysong”? 
  3. Examine the ways in which Scott explores feelings about relationships in “Marrysong”. 

Thanks for reading! To get a full and detailed analysis of this specific poem, click here. For the full CIE IGCSE Poetry Anthology course and many more English Literature and Language courses, click here.

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