Comparing To His Coy Mistress and One Flesh

Comparing To His Coy Mistress and One Flesh

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Comparing To His Coy Mistress and One Flesh


These are two poems wrote at very different times, and have some very
different views about love and what is contained in love. Andrew
Marvell wrote 'To His Coy Mistress,' in the 17th century has views are
of a man thinking about his sex life. 'One Flesh,' written by
Elizabeth Jennings in the 20th century has views from a daughter
looking at her parents with a sympathetic view.

In 'To His Coy Mistress,' the language within this poem is much like
the style of language used in Shakespeare's work, and it would seem
they had similar interests and motives on writing their pieces. It
seems that the only reason for Marvell to write this poem was to try
and get his Lady-friend to advance their caring relationship into a
sexual relationship. Within this poem all he is really doing is trying
to persuade his girlfriend to change her mind about wanting to die
pure and innocent, as she wants to die a virgin, and goes about this
by describing some horrific images. This could show that he wants her
to be scared out of her state of mind and into his beliefs. He starts
off trying to sweeten her into wanting to have sex with him, he says

Had we but world enough, and time,

This coyness, Lady, were no crime.


We would sit down, and think which way
--------------------------------------

To talk, and pass our long love's day.

He is saying here that if there were a limitless amount of time we
would be able to go out and just think about talking to each other,
but because life is short we can't do that so take a chance and do it.
Then he goes onto say that in an ideal world one would have time to go
to such places as India and search for ruby's and he would not
complain because he would have endless amounts of time with her, but
this isn't an ideal world. Here he is just reinforcing his previous

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statement about how she should just give in to his patient waiting and
sleep with him. He then goes onto saying that if they had been alive
since before the flood, when God flooded the earth, and Noah had to
save the animals, he would have loved her since then and would
continue to do so forever. He talks about how he loves her and how she
should do it with someone who is in love with her, although I don't
actually think he is in love with her. He doesn't talk with passion,
love or emotion; he talks with lust and that all he really wants is a
little fling, not a partner that will last a lifetime. All he is
interested in is her beauty and her body, not her personality, this is
all for his own self-satisfaction. If he really cared about her, he
wouldn't be hugely worried about having sex with her but being worried
that she was safe, that she was comfortable within their relationship
and that her feelings were expressed even if they weren't good for
him.

In the second section he starts off immediately trying to scare her
with gruesome thoughts about death and what happens when the body
decomposes. He starts off saying that he can always hear the time of
death creeping closer and closer every day and that they've only got a
limited amount of time left so take your chances while u can. He also
says once they are dead they have got an entire eternity of vast
emptiness which sounds quite worrying so this could shock her and make
her think that she should make the most of their time while they're
alive. In the second sentence of the second section he says that her
long preserving virginity will be lost to worms when she is dead
because she will have started to rot away. This is backing up his
previous argument why she should have sex with him, because she won't
be able to control what happens when she dead. This is all to do with
the attempt of trying to scare her enough to make her think they
should have sex. He also says that when she dies all of his lust for
her will be turned into ashes which points in the direction that in
the 17th century when someone died that person would be cremated. He
explains that when she dies and is put in a grave she will be very
lonely so she should be good company while she can be accompanied.

In the 3rd section he doesn't try to scare her but just tells her how
it is. He talks the truth but the clean truth; I think this is the
only section he is actually talking straight. He is not trying to
convince her by sweetening her into sleeping with him and he is not
trying to make her picture horrific images about her death. This is
probably the section that will get her to sleep with him because she
knows it's the honest truth. The only thing that will not help is that
because he is no longer a virgin he knows how it feels and what
happens, and because she is still 'pure' she doesn't know. His
experience means that he states the feelings within the section, which
could put her off because it goes into a bit too much detail for a
lady to approve. He describes the sex as fun and a sport. He explains
it as,

Let us roll all our strength, and all

Our sweetness, up into on ball:

And tear our pleasures with rough strife

Thorough the iron grates of life.

To be honest I think this is a little too much detail for it to be in
a newspaper, especially in the 17th century, because if this was for a
lady to read she could possibly find it offensive or just too
explicit. He then finishes off with saying if we did have sex we would
have such a good time would just fly by and before we knew it the sun
would have risen and a new day would have come.

In 'One flesh,' the language that is used is very much like language
you would hear on the 21st century. This is mainly because it was
written in the middle of the 20th century and the language hasn't
changed very much in 100 years. Elizabeth Jennings' motive or reason
for writing this poem was to try and express her frustration and her
sorrow that her parents didn't express their love and affection for
one another physically. She doesn't mean she wants them too have sex
all the time but she would like them to feel comfortable with each
other, talk to each other like a married couple should do, or at least
feel comfortable kissing each other once and a while. I think, because
her parents sound to be quite old, maybe they either know each other
so well they almost know what each other is thinking or the love they
used to have just isn't there anymore. This is told to us when
Elizabeth says:

Lying apart now, each in a separate bed,

He with a book, keeping the light on late,

She like a girl dreaming of childhood.

This suggests that they don't feel comfortable even talking to each
other or sleeping in the same bed as each other, which could resort
back to the statement that there just isn't any love left to exchange
with each other. She then goes onto say that when the couple are lying
in their separate beds they are doing their respected things, as if
they want to talk and shares feelings but they can't seem to find the
words to say such things. When he is reading his book, he isn't
actually reading it, he is thinking of what to say or how he should
express a certain thing. This means that the hardships are just going
round in a vicious circle.

In the second section she keeps on talking about the sleeping
arrangement, she comments on how cool they lie, not doing anything at
all, not using any energy which could warm them up. This could be
referring to them not having sex, their coolness, instead of the heat
and passion generated during intercourse. She then goes onto say that
when they do express they feelings it is very short, very sharp, and
doesn't last because it is almost as if they are confessing to one
another that they still have some feelings. She also says that when
this happens it could be a confession of not really having any
feelings for each other or too many. I think if it were to be too many
feelings for each other the reason the expressing is so stunted is
because maybe because the sexual days are over they don't really know
how they should express their platonic feelings. Then she says that
death awaits them and that their whole life is preparation for when
they go to heaven or hell and that they will have prepared for being
reunited in death. This shows that her parents must be quite elderly
and close to death and that, when they meet, they will have remembered
how to express those feelings.

In the third section she is referring to their relationship and how it
is quite good although they don't really show it at all. This is
referring back to the second section when it is said that maybe they
have not enough feelings for each other, or too many. Now they have a
good relationship on the inside despite what is shown on the outside.
"Strangely apart, yet strangely close together," this says that maybe
they know that they love each other so it doesn't have to be expressed
with words or actions. It then goes onto tell us that there is a
comfortable silence between them, which could show their inactive sex
life, this is like the other poem, their young relationship, not
having sex but still loving each other. She then asks a question we'll
never know the answer to, but I'm sure she did. She asks that if they
know they are old, which I'm sure they do but don't feel as old as
they truly are. Finally she says, "Whose fire from which I came, has
now grown cold?" This is saying that when the relationship of her
parents was a young, fiery, explosive one, has now grown cold. It
could also be interpreted as the fire being the heat from the sex,
which was when she was made, and has now grown cold, meaning there is
no longer the sexual heat warming their bodies throughout.

These are two very different poems but they are questioning the same
thing, whether or not the couple's love each other to which I think in
the first I think they could love each other but don't just yet. In
the second couple I think they know very well they love each other,
they just have no need to express it physically.
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