Human Interest

The speaker’s split feelings reflected in the broken form of the sonnet in “Human Interest” In “Human Interest” the speaker has split feelings about his dead girlfriend, which are reflected in the form of the poem. The reader can see feelings of love, regret and grief and on the contrary feelings of hate and anger. The break between those divided feelings is visible in the broken form of the sonnet. The poem represents a broken form of the original Petrarchan sonnet. Firstly looking at the form of the poem the reader sees that there are 14 lines what indicates that he is looking at a sonnet.

The rhyme scheme is identical with the typical rhyme scheme of the sonnet as abbaabba cdcdcd. Moreover there are 4 stanzas as in the sonnet, but the way the stanzas are constructed questions the thought of it being a typical one: In a sonnet there are 4 lines in the first stanza, 4 in the second and in each following stanza 3 lines. In “Human Interest” there is the scheme 4343. In other words there is an untypical break between line 7 and 8, the poem is punctiliously tore apart at that point. In different parts of the poem it is visible that the speaker has divided feelings.

His feelings are turning over from hate and anger to love, grief and regret. The former is for instance illustrated in ‘I slogged my guts out for her’ (line 5). That sentence creates the impression of the speaker reproaching his dead girlfriend. It shows his disappointment because it seems like nothing he had done for her would have been worth it, all he got was her unfaithfulness and cheating. The use of the strong word ? slogged? reinforces that effect. To put it another way, it seems like he tries to legitimate his deed.

In contrast to that aspect of legitimating his deed, the reader is able to see some expression of regret in line 12ff. where the speaker says ‘When I think about her now, I near choke / with grief. ’. It shows that he suffers, he ‘near choke’ and how sad he is about her not being there anymore. As a result the speaker expresses different feelings that do not fit together, he has thoughts of hate and shortly after he seems to be in love and sad about his deed. In addition it is to say that those split feelings are not only expressed in the words but are also visible in the form of the poem.

The change of the speaker’s feelings happens between line 7 and 8. The speaker tilts over from ‘She stank of deceit. ‘ (line 7) to ‘I loved her. ‘ (line 8). The former is absolutely an expression of scorn, reinforced by the word ‘stank‘. There is a crack to the following expression of love. It behaves in exactly the same way with the form of the poem at that point: As already mentioned there is an untypical break between line 7 and 8, where the form of the sonnet is punctiliously tore apart.

That split of the speaker’s feelings is exactly at the same point where the poem breaks the form of the sonnet apart. To sum up, the speaker’s feelings are visible aside from different parts of the poem in its form. There are a lot of negative feelings of hate and anger expressed in the first part of this poem, which turn over in line 8 to feelings of love. That break of feelings also demonstrates the broken form of the sonnet. (597 words)

Skip to toolbar