The Themes of Loss and Isolation in Looking for Dad and the Sick Equation by Brian as Well as Long Distance by Tony Harrison
When exploring poems it is clear to see that there are many analytical
and poetic devices used to emphasise meaning and theme throughout the
verses. The 3 poems that employ examples of this are 'Looking for dad'
and 'The sick equation' by Brian Patten and 'Long distance' by Tony
Harrison. There are many different ways to express feelings through
the use of poetry and the main feature in the 3 of these poems is Loss
and isolation. This relates to the poet's personal feelings and
emotion towards major influences in their lives and how they have
affected them in many different ways.
Brian Patten's 'The Sick Equation' explores how his parent's intense
arguing and general disrespect for each other had such a damaging
effect on his thoughts, personality and life. It is written as if he
is between the ages of 10-16 as he refers to school,
It also exclaims that at this time, his parents are still living
together but the house is 'full of anger and pain.' Which gives an
indication of how he feels about his home life.
The poet assumes from his past experience that he can't go with anyone
because his equation is 'broken'. He feels it is better being one,
rather than being two and trying sort things out because it will
always end it hurt or divorce as the only example he can look upon is
Up to line 5 Patten describes how he pushed away anyone who wanted to
love him and how he always thought that marriage would end in divorce.
He has very low confidence. He would rather not be loved at all than
be love by someone, only then to be rejected by them.
However, in verse 6 he has completely turned his life around and has
found someone to love.
In the sick equation Brian Patten uses oxymoron's to explain his
situation further, 'raw cocoon of parental hate', the raw makes you
think of red fleshy uncovered wounds which is perhaps how he feels
about the family's relationship, cocoon however demonstrates how he is
caught up in the fighting between his parents and is enclosed in the
trap of love of which he cannot escape. 'I grew-or-did not grow' is a
line in 'The Sick Equation' describes as he felt. The consequences of
the horror he witnessed at home left him physically, a grown man, but
mentally he was still a small boy.
Brian Patten isolated himself from everyone as he thought that if he
were to venture into a relationship it would mirror that of his
parents and end up in divorce, which meant he was very lonely
Throughout the poem, Patten expresses his anger by using strong words
such as 'raw', 'hate' and 'pain'. He is angry at his parent's
influence on him as it has left him a helpless man with no one to
Starting on verse 19 Patten...