By Dennis Scott

Poets background: Overview of the poem:
Dennis Scott was born in Kingston, Jamaica in December of 1939. As a young man, he was educated at Jamaica College, an all-male secondary school, where he performed well. The school was known for both its academic and sports achievements. Scott went on to attend the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica. At the time, Scott was a visiting professor at the Yale school of Drama. He taught and worked in theater in the West Indies and reviewed the performing arts for radio and television there.Surviving are his wife, Joy R.; his son, Jon-David, and his daughter, Danielle, all of New Haven.The narrator is viewed as the husband and throughout this poem he attempts to understand the chronic mood swings of the wife, depicting the complexities of marriage and love itself. But, regardless of these setbacks the man concludes with the same belief that true love overpowers all.


Hardships of love and marriage: The narrator addresses the downfalls within marriage like communication and how marriage would be easier if the significant other could see what they’re feeling

The mind of a women: The entire poem indirectly narrates how the wife feels. Although the reader may understand it, the narrator (S.O) cannot possibly because of the lack of empathy 


Throughout the poem, whenever the narrator describes the emotions that rush through his wife, the descriptions are always associated with nature. That’s the use of imagery and during comparisons that’s known as metaphors and similes. Line 9 demonstrates this idea ‘Wind brought him rain sometimes’ the use of nature shows the extreme mood swings that the female undergoes, there is no prevalent emphasis on this since the position of the narrator is mutual to the readers since it’s from a 3rd person point of view. The use of ‘wind’ represents a harsh continuity which could imply that there might’ve been a fight which brought in ‘rain’ representing tears. The use of symbolism further emphasizes and elaborates the perils of love. 



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Critical analysis checklist: 


Nationality/historical period/gender

Marrysong, written by Dennis Scott addresses the complexities of marriage and love but how love overpowers these hardships. Written in 1989, Dennis Scott writes the poem from a 3rd person point of view to establish a ‘cinematic feel’ when reading or listening to the poem. 


Broad understanding of the content and meaning

This entire poem revolves around the common ground every husband within a marriage starts off from. The phrase ‘I will never understand a woman’ isn’t viewed as degrading but instead, genuine confusion when the husband attempts to comprehend the wife’s mood swings and the cause of them. 

The poem comedically concludes with the same idea that the man’s wife will still continue to amuse him whether it be tomorrow or 20 years from now, simply because he accepts the idea that he may never understand what’s going on.

This represents what goes through a man’s mind as well as a female when both are in a relationship. These strong contradicting personalities represent a bond possibly defining what love may mean. 


What wider issues are being explored

This poem has two main themes, ‘the drawbacks of love and marriage’ as well as ‘the mind of a women’. These two themes narrate and give an idea of the common relationship dynamic between two people when married or in love. 

The poem breaks down and diminishes the fantastical idea of love that includes happiness and happiness only, but instead, conveys and defines the true meaning of love, whether it be within a family or between two people that used to be strangers. 


Consider the narrative point of view

The narrator shows a mutual connection to the reader since this poem is narrated by a complete stranger. The narrator doesn’t play a significant role within the poem but helps to execute a prose like structure within the poem. The poem shows no signs of bias since the speaker situation is not one of the two characters within the poem.

The thoughts of the man and woman is narrated which helps the reader to realize the implied message, that being that when in love, negativity may be come around, but it would also leave.  


Sombre? happy? optimistic? sarcastic? how is this evident? is it consistent?

Since the speaker situation is free of bias which means that its from a third person point of view, which is mutual to the reader, the tone is quite neutral since the poem is so full of feelings of confusion and emotion that the tone doesn’t play a significant role within the poem. 


Consider the organization of sentences, paragraphs, stanzas. look at punctuation and the way it affects reading.

The entire poem takes the form of 17 lines with no stanzas whatsoever, this represents two main elements of the poem that plays a big role… Emotion and Change. When the narrator associates the women’s emotions with nature, we can conclude that mother nature is an ever-changing cycle, as are her emotions, the form of the poem represents continuity, a continuity in change. 

For emotions, when in a relationship and in this case, when in love, there will always be this infinite flow of emotions passing through the two. The form being continuous represents a consistency in emotion, representing the many ups and downs of love.  


Any particularly striking words or phrases? Any semantic field?

The phrase ‘landscapes of her mind’ associates the females mind or the way she thinks to nature. The use of the word ‘landscape’ represents something vast, which represents admiration towards the women’s mind from the husband’s side. 


Regular or irregular? Consider the pulse, pace and pattern

The poem doesn’t follow a set rhythm and the rhythm is very much irregular. This conveys the idea that a relationship shouldn’t be perfect, but instead, the imperfections within a relationship represents how much the two love each other. 

Since the poem takes a prose like structure, there isn’t a set rhythm scheme because of that. It’s interesting to believe that the poems rhythm scheme mimics a beating heart, although irregular, it functions perfectly, just like a relationship. 


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