An Analysis of Elizabeth Jennings' One Flesh.

Topics: Old age, Poetry, Ageing Pages: 3 (879 words) Published: January 3, 2014
Chong Xu Cheng, 13A02.
Elizabeth Jennings’ One Flesh bears the overarching significance of how a relationship will end if it were to lack communication. Through the use of diction in “floatsam” and “wait” to depict the non-progressing, stagnant nature of their relationship, Jennings tells us that communication is vital to fuel a romance, old age causing the relationship to lose direction and causing it to slow and halt, before death. The idea of communication between vital to fuel a romance could be first seen through the simile of them “hardly ever touch(ing)” and when they actually do, it is “like a confession”. The word “confession” expresses the difficulty they have to go through to come into contact with each other, as it connotes some form of building up of courage to admit a wrongdoing. This can also be linked to the idea of guilt, where the couple could be said to feel guilty because they “hardly ever touch”. However, when they do touch, they start to think of “having too little feeling – or too much”. The hyphen that links the two phrases together suggests a degree of confusion, uncertainty regarding their feelings to each other, which could be attributed to the lack of communication within the relationship; it has led to each one of them doubting the other’s feelings. The couple is faced with “chastity”, something of which their “whole life was a preparation”. The latter quotation could have been a reference to the concept of death, while sex is considered one of the ways in which a couple communicates with one another – therefore the lack of it in a relationship is drawing it closer to death, an absolute end. Death is naturally first preceded by old age, however, thus it could be inferred that the lack of communication can come with old age. As a couple grows older together, their relationship will lose direction and eventually become stagnant. The nautical imagery created by diction of “floatsam” compares it to their relationship, in the...
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