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Long Distance II Analysis

Author: Poetry of Tony Harrison Type: Poetry Views: 1737

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Norton Anthology of English Literature, Seventh Edition ,Volume 21981Though my mother was already two years dead

Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,

put hot water bottles her side of the bed

and still went to renew her transport pass.You couldn't just drop in. You had to phone.

He'd put you off an hour to give him timeto clear away her things and look aloneas though his still raw love were such a crime.He couldn't risk my blight of disbelief

though sure that very soon he'd hear her key

scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.

He knew she'd just popped out to get the tea.I believe life ends with death, and that is all.

You haven't both gone shopping; just the same,

in my new black leather phone book there's your nameand the disconnected number I still call.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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it's about grief and how hard it is to get over someone's dead.

| Posted on 2016-05-09 | by a guest

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In the first stanza, he says that he “kept her slippers warming,” made her, “hot water bottles” and “still went to renew her transport pass,” all represent a larger set of actions. From this we can see that he continued to go through life as if she was still alive.
Harrison represents his grief as “raw love.” He uses “raw” to represent a wound that has yet to heal.

| Posted on 2016-03-01 | by a guest

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The word raw love signifies a raw wound. A raw wound is open and takes time to heal which links back to the father and his pain for the loss of his wife will take time as it is still 'raw' and hurts.

| Posted on 2014-08-04 | by a guest

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Interestingly, no one noticed the word \"new\" when the persona mentions that \"in [his] new black leather phone book theres [his father\'s] name and the disconnected number [he] still call[s]\". Why would the persona want to record down a number in his new phone book when the number is no longer in use? It does seem to suggest that the persona recorded down the useless number in his phone book naturally, and this is evident that the persona have not come to terms with his father\'s death, mirroring how his father, too, is unable to come to terms with his wife\'s death. Ironic as it seems, it highlights how the loss of a loved one causes irrationality in the ones living, and missing them to the point that they think their irrational acts to be a normal and natural one.
This is only my view! :)

| Posted on 2012-09-07 | by a guest

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It is catching that the son continues to do what his father was doing for his mother, after his father\'s death. his action gives a touching closing to the poem, where his love for both his parents is apparent by his not being able to let the go, even after their death.

| Posted on 2011-06-22 | by a guest

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In the second stanza the fathe ris denying her death to other people.

| Posted on 2011-03-15 | by a guest

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Also about the ending rhyme scheme - more than the ABBA rhyme scheme representing a change from the rhyme before, it conveys how he is still trying to connect himself with his father, encasing him, despite the \'disconnected number\'. Both of the \'A\' lines (on the last stanza) contain the personal pronoun \'I\' referencing the narrator whereas the \'B\' rhymes contain the personal pronoun \'you\' and are directed to the dead father. Tony Harrison here is implying of how the son is still trying to connect with his father by trapping him inside, seen through the personal pronouns. It almost makes a sad image that the only connection the narrator has left with his father are the memories that he contains inside.

| Posted on 2011-01-26 | by a guest

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No one has mention about the wedding vow, think about it, wedding vow says that \'only death can seperate us\' however, it seem to be wrong on this circumstance,even the death can not seperate them, therefore they overcomes the wedding vow

| Posted on 2010-12-05 | by a guest

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An important part of this poem that none of you seem to have picked up on is the concept of wealth; the father has no measurable wealth except for his huge love of his late wife, and although his son appears quite wealthy- \'my new black leather phone book\'- the last line of the poem states that the son still calls the disconnected phone number, showing that he is more like his father than he thinks or that is apparent at a glance.

| Posted on 2010-11-10 | by a guest

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I belive this poem is simply about how the son finds it somewhat irratating how his father was being so so and unco-opperative while getting over his mothers death, but once hisfather died he realsied how hard it was, and he re-acted the same way-ie he still calls the disconnected number.
thats just to cut a long story short though this poem is amazingly intresting to analyse but i will leave that to you to work out :)
ps sorry about spelling im awful.

| Posted on 2010-10-28 | by a guest

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This is not a poem about someone in denial or who cannot accept the death of his life partner this is a poem about grief

| Posted on 2010-06-06 | by a guest

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why is there allienation in the poem???at what point??

| Posted on 2010-05-22 | by a guest

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does anyone know did the father die?? is that why its ''and the disconnected number i still call'' does this show that hes now showing actions of his father by still doing something even though there gone. Please help :)

| Posted on 2010-05-22 | by a guest

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THANKYOU so much people who wrote on this site! English essay now completed! :)

| Posted on 2010-05-11 | by a guest

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To put it simply, the poem is about a father who cannot seem to accept the death of his wife.
He does everything he used to such as warming her slippers by the gas, putting hot water bottles at the side of her bed and renewing her transport pass.
He tries to convince himself that she will come back and this is shown by the italiced word 'knew' in line 12. The poet comments on these things his father does and feels with loving critisism but realises how his father feels later on when his father passes away too.
The poet tells us of his fathers embarrassment in the second stanza by using a short sharp line such as; 'You couldn't just drop in. You had to phone.'The emphasis is on the 'had'. His father also feels as though his actions and feelings were wrong; 'as though his still raw love were such a crime.'
The poet is trying to portray the message that life ends in time but love never dies.
There are not many creative literary devices within this poem but these are not necessarily needed when the poem has a theme such as death.
The rhyming scheme is ABAB throughout the first three stanzas but this changes in the last stanza. It becomes a loose ABBA which portrays the feeling of change and helps the reader realise this.

| Posted on 2010-04-18 | by a guest

.: :.

i think at the beginning of the poem the poet is saying that it is hard for his father to accept the death of his wife and he still does things like renew her passport as if she is still there because he loves her and he is embarrased so you hav to call before you visit.
the poet thinks that your life ends with time but love never ends and he also like his father still finds it hard to accept his parent's death so he still calls.

| Posted on 2009-11-25 | by a guest

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The line length in the poem is about 10 - 12 syllables long which creates a steady rhythm throughout the poem.

| Posted on 2009-09-15 | by a guest

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The father of the poet is in a state of denial as he does not want to acknoledge the demise of his wife. It seems through his actions that he is trying to preserve the existance of his wife. He does that work as a duty hoping that by continuing to kee her slippers by the stove his wife might come back.

| Posted on 2009-09-10 | by a guest

.: :.

The first stanza explains how the father cant resist but still keep the memories of his wife alive, put hot water bottles by her side of the bed this quote implies how the father cant let go of the past and hopes his wife will come back and share the bed with him again. The words hot water bottles have connotations of comfort and pain relief, this implies how he wants to relieve the pain of his wifes death or he could be pretending that the hot water bottles are just the warmth and comfort coming from his wife. The phrase on her side of the bed implies how the father is still willing to live under his wifes rules as if she is still there.

| Posted on 2009-06-25 | by a guest

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"Time" in the poem is a very important thing. The inverted sentence "was already two years dead" has the two years in front to emphasize time instead of the death. "still" a long word to emphasize time. "rusted lock" again emphasizes time. This is because Harrison wanted to show love does not die with time however, only life dies with time.

| Posted on 2009-06-11 | by a guest

.: :.

Harrison has noticed his father's habitual routine -
"Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed..."
and comments on it with loving criticism.
The fact that his father has not been able to come to terms with Harrison's mother's death makes it difficult for Harrison himself to accept his father's death later, as is clear from "the disconnected number I still call."
A part of him still believes that his parents are alive, much the same way as his father did when his mother died.

| Posted on 2009-05-23 | by a guest

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the poem is refers to a father who can not deal with the deat of his wife, still trying to deny her death then the soon faces it who also takes it in a bad way

| Posted on 2009-05-07 | by a guest

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The second stanza shows the father is embarrassed of his actions.

| Posted on 2008-11-16 | by a guest

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this is a good peom because the relation ship between father and son is quite obvious at the end when he says how he still calls the "disconnected number"

| Posted on 2008-06-26 | by a guest

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this is a good peom because the relation ship between father and son is quite obvious at the end when he says how he still calls the "disconnected number"

| Posted on 2008-06-26 | by a guest

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I believe that this poem is enevitably about the want to hold religious beliefs, and that even the most synical of people will turn to religion in times of danger and fear. it is about the feeling of not wanting to be alone.

| Posted on 2008-05-14 | by a guest

.: Linguistic features :.

"I believe life ends with death" the elaborate words are short and very fact oriented. At the end of our existentialism we are seen to be gone. Every movement and intricate detail that splashes onto our lives as a painting ruins it by making it shorter or makes it rather gorgous and lengthens.

| Posted on 2008-01-22 | by a guest

.: Writing Techniques. :.

The poem uses enjambment, (the continuation of meaning, without pause or break, from one line to the next) in the second paragraph:
Hed put you off an hour to give him time
To clear her thing and look alone...
The use off enjambment here created movement within the poem. The longer sentence gives the impression of a long period of time, and that the grief and every day routine of putting up appearances that Harrisons father laboriously deals with.
Another technique used in the poem is Caesura (A pause, or break in the middle of a line)
You couldnt just drop in. You had to phone.
The use of Caesura has the opposite effect to the later use of enjambment. It sounds matter-a-fact and mundane. The reader is unable to argue with the quick and factual piece of information.
The poem itself has a loose ABAB rhyming scheme in the first three paragraphs, and then in the last verse the rhyming scheme changes to an ABBA structure. The effect created by this is singling out the last paragraph as important, and showing that there has been some kind of change between the previous paragraphs and the final paragraph (The previous paragraphs only deal with Harrisons fathers reaction to his wifes death, but the final paragraph is set once both of Harrisons parents have died, and he is now feeling the grief.) The fact the rhyming scheme is fairly loose helps the reader to focus on the message of the poem, and not just a rhyming pattern.

| Posted on 2007-12-04 | by a guest

.: analysis :.

The poem Long Distance is about the love in a close family. Firstly, the love felt by the father regarding his wife and later on, the love felt by the son, which is apparent through his sense of loss. All of this shows a close, loving family.

It is a sad poem filled with grief, which the poet seems to find hard to understand:
"He couldn't risk my blight of disbelief".

However, later he understands that grief too well, when he experiences it himself at the death of his father.

It is a vey interesting poem in which nobody in his family can seem to come to terms with death.

| Posted on 2007-05-19 | by a guest

.: what i think :.

It was written by Tony Harrison who was born in Leeds in 1947. His poems explore his family life and working class childhood dealing with issues in class and couture. In the last 25 years Harrison concentrated on writing for stage and film.
This poem is about a mother who has died.
The son is very concerned for his father who after 2 years can not get over the fact his wife has died.
His dad still believes that his mother will return by saying through sure that very soon hed hear her key scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief
The son describes his feelings about death as simple as he can he believes that I believe life ends with death that is all
He keeps his beliefs short and gets to the point, that he knows he will never see his mother. He has not hope or faith. After this line the poem moves on saying that someone else has died.
I believe it is his father that has died as it says you havent Both gone shopping as his mother died when she went out shopping.
When the son says in my new black leather phone book theres your name and the disconnected number I still call.
This is explaining that he still has his dads number in his new phone book because he still has the memories
Of him and when he goes to call his parents it is disconnected as they are both dead, so he understands how his father felt.
As the reader of this poem I feel upset because after his mother has gone the son must have spent a lot of time with his father and now he has gone he has know one left. But I believe that to miss his family so much, he must have had a good life with them, so he should be happy that they had a happy family life instead of hating his parents and them dying and him not being able to say sorry, or even love each other.
Love creates love because his parents had a happy loving relationship; he understands true love and appreciates what he has now lost.

| Posted on 2007-05-11 | by a guest

.: :.

Harrison avoids the use of metaphors, figurative language and similies in this poem. Because death and the distant relationship with his parents are pofound topics that do not need extra creativity. Instead he uses blunt and stark words to create an emotion that is clear in subject matter. I believe harrison felt deeply for his parents even though there were many cracks which faultered their relationship, because he writes so intently to describe a regretful past.

| Posted on 2007-04-16 | by a guest

.: Rhyme Scheme :.

The first few stnzas have a regular ABAB rhyme scheme, showing the pattern that the poet's father found to deal with his life and return to normal after the death of his wife.

The last stanza, in which the poet describes his own attempts at moving on has a disrupted rhyme scheme of ABBA. Incidentally, ABBA is the Jewish word for father, showing that the mans's death has been preying on the poet's mind, even though he profuses to believe "that life ends with death".

| Posted on 2005-05-16 | by Approved Guest

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