Explain how the words of Marrysong vividly convey the thoughts and ideas presented to the reader.

Marrysong is a complex poem by Dennis Scott that tries to bring across the idea of marriage. Scott tries to say that marriage isn’t as ideal as people envision it, but it is an educational journey, an adventure to explore each other’s personalities. Marriage is a constant, unstable obstacle that people have to deal with- and accepting each other’s difference is its essence.

Scott uses a plethora of literary devices to convey his thoughts and ideas on marriage to the reader. The entire poem is an extended metaphor, an allegory of sorts. Scott likens marriage to an adventure, starting with ‘that territory, without seasons, shifted under his eye’. Marriage is without seasons; there’s no constant pattern or security in knowing that everything will be back to normal again. It is unpredictable- and Scott calls it a territory, something that has to be worked out, conquered. ‘Territory’ also suggests that marriage is vast, and no easy feat. Even when he was watching, it ‘shifted under his eye’: it’s always changing and isn’t constant. Scott then writes: ‘He charted’. The man in the poem mapped out a path, started to understand his wife and got to have a fixed perception of her, before she ‘made wilderness again.’ The wilderness is barren, foreign, wild, like a wasteland. He got lost- he was unable to understand and cope with her. ‘The map was never true’: there was no set path or shortcut, what he believed in vanished into thin air again, and he loses sight of the road. Marriage is complicated, ideas are constantly altering and it is an unpredictable journey. Then he writes: ‘wind brought him rain sometimes, tasting of sea’. The ‘wind’ and ‘rain’ are metaphors for the downs of marriage, the gloom and downcast. The ‘sea’ is saltish; it indicates tears and hardship, and the tough storms he had to brave through. At the end of the poem though, Scott has a change in perception: ‘he accepted that geography, constantly strange. Wondered. Stayed home increasingly to find his way among the landscapes of her mind.’ He finally accepts that he won’t ever understand her completely, and ends up staying home to understand her better, learn more about her. That’s what marriage is about- getting to know a person better and spending a lifetime together. There has been a change in their relationship; it has developed further and now they understand that they will never fully understand each other. The way Scott describes her mind as having many ‘landscapes’ shows that the journey isn’t smooth, and there is more than one facet to her personality.

Scott doesn’t portray marriage as all doom and gloom, however. He uses personification to bring out the joy in marriage: ‘see cool water laughing’. this depicts a joyful, cheerful scene. We envision a gently rippling, bubbly brook, a joyous love and pure happiness that their relationship has come to.

Rhyming is also used in the poem to convey his thoughts on marriage. There are two pairs of rhymes in the poem- ‘new’ and ‘grew’, and ‘find’ and ‘mind’. The rhyming is sporadic, also bringing across the message that marriage is unpredictable, and there are only moments of happiness and joy among the changing and confusing whirl of emotions. New and grew indicates that everything is new, but marriage is something to be nurtured, a constant growth and learning process that one has to go through. ‘Find’ and ‘mind’ also emphasize on how he constantly has to search for an answer, stumble his way through the complex jungle, the obstacles and barriers she puts up in her mind.

Not only that, but the way the words are arranged in an amassed structure in Marrysong also brings across the idea of marriage. The colossal block of words are daunting- they intimidate the readers and reflect that marriage is hard, difficult to have, and it’s a constant journey with no respite. There’s no stop to the torrent of troubles that the man in the poem is showered with, but the essence of marriage is to brave through all the trials and tribulations and cope with the constant struggle to decipher each other’s emotions and needs. This also shows that marriage is unpredictable and emotions are constantly fluctuating- you can’t predict anything when everything is in one amassed block. It also emphasizes that it’s not the end that matters, but the journey that marriage is really about.

In conclusion, Scott constantly reminds us of the true essence of marriage. to him, marriage is a constantly altering and unpredictable thing- but one mustn’t give up and should try and explore each other’s personalities and learn from each other’s moods. Scott’s ideas about marriage are very strong and emanates from Marrysong, conveyed through his words and language.


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