How does Simon Armitage present a struggle of identity in Poem and About His Person Simon Armitage s poems Poem and About His Person convey a struggle of identity through two anonymous male characters through double meanings diction and the imagery created through everyday simplicity Both poems are similar in many aspects including the anonymity of the dead characters and the apparent language used However the most significant similarity between the two poems is the unanswered questions left in the reader's mind about the characters identity Whilst Poem focuses on the opposing actions of a man About His Person details the possessions of another man found on him at the time of his death When comparing the two poems the similarities and differences Simon Armitage uses presents an issue of identity in two very distinctive ways Simon Armitage s use of contrasting actions within the stanzas found in Poem creates a struggle between the characters two personalities
Poem narrates the actions of a man during the course of his life as if an obituary that is to be read after his death reflecting on his identity The first few lines of each stanza state an action to convey the mans caring and compassionate side as he does things like tucked in his daughter and night praised his wife and for his mum hired a private nurse Simon Armitage does this to illustrate to the reader that the man is fairly normal and kind which makes him more relatable for the audience Yet in each stanza the three lines of goodness are always continued by an action of evil towards those who he cares about like abuse and thievery even for the slightest infatuation like laughing or lying Simon Armitage creates this juxtaposition to illustrate the mans struggle with identity as now and then he hints at rather dark aggressive traits Furthermore by having the sinful action as the last line in each stanza it erases all kindness mentioned as the evil action leaves a more lasting impression upon the reader About his Person also written by Simon Armitage narrates the possessions found on a man at the time of his death The possessions in the form of a list include a library card a shopping list spare change and a watch Each simple item is followed with detail in adjectives and verbs to support the double entendre For example the watch was described as analogue self winding stopped This is double entendre as it illustrates firstly that the man wore a watch and it had stopped working But secondly it has the inferred meaning that his time alive had run out i e He stopped when his watch stopped Simon Armitage also uses strong diction so that by the time the reader has finished the entirety of the list they can surmise from the finality of the words such as stopped final beheaded that the man s life has ended
This assumption is further supported by Simon Armitage s inclusion of a final demand which indicates that the cause of death was suicide as he left a note of explanation or instruction Furthermore the poem ends with a ring of unweathered skin representing where his wedding ring used to be which could mean that the character had either lost or divorced his partner In addition to which the statement that was everything is also double entendre as it firstly signifies the end of the list of his possessions but furthermore that his marriage was so important that his whole life was centered around it and it was his only reason to live In his literal everything The loss of his life significance caused his emotional identity crisis as he felt he no longer had a motive to live Simon Armitage creates imagery in both poems through the use of plain and simple items and actions These elements allow the readers to develop an insight to the identity and struggle of the two dead men Simple actions like saving money and caring for a mother from Poem and items like a watch and spare change from About His Person are some of the simplest factors for any reader to comprehend The poet does this so the reader can easily compose an image of the characters as the imagery allows them to draw comparisons with their own life For example everyone recognizes the concept of having coins in their pocket and tucking their children in at bedtime Although Simon Armitage gives no indication of the physical appearance of the two men the reader is still able to form a vivid image of what the characters might the character might look like or even would have been like This is significant as each reader has an individual perception of the characters identity
This is reflected further by the quote here's how they rated him when they looked back Sometimes he did this sometimes he did that This shows how each person they who had a relationship with the character in Poem had a different experience of the man depending on how they knew him therefore creating different identities Simon Armitage creates a struggle of identity in both poem and About his person through linguistic language like double entendre and diction whilst the use of simple items and actions creates imagery due to its relatability These two poems one as an obituary and the other in the form of a postmortem case file develop identities depending on how the reader understands each stanza These poems may allude to the fact that although someone may know an individual very well it is very difficult to describe them as a character of the past Death can change the identity of someone as they become just like the characters described by the poet an anonymous person
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