In Paris With You Analysis by James Fenton

In this article, we are going to analyzing the poem "In Paris With You" by James Fenton.

Summary of In Paris With You:

This poem is from the outset made clear to not be a love poem. The speaker describes the nasty break up of a relationship that is obviously still affecting them. They then turn their attention to a 'rebound’ relationship that is taking place in Paris.

Analysis of In Paris With You:

Stanza 1
Don't talk to me of love. I've had an earful
And I get tearful when I've downed a drink or two.
I'm one of your talking wounded.
I'm a hostage. I'm maroonded.
But I'm in Paris with you.
The poem opens with a command not to talk about love, with the second line suggesting that the speaker is sick of this topic.

We get the idea that the speaker has recently been through an upsetting break up and is drinking to forget it.

This play on words suggests love is like a war, further emphasised by the word "hostage".

Stanza 2
Yes I'm angry at the way I've been bamboozled
And resentful at the mess I've been through.
I admit I'm on the rebound
And I don't care where are we bound.
I'm in Paris with you.
This stanza like one side of a conversation, like the speaker is answering a question.

The words 'angry','bamboozled','resentful' and 'mess' highlight the speaker's anger.

The speaker admits they are on the rebound from their failed relationship, and doesn't seem to care how long the new relationship lasts.

The use of the pronoun 'you' and the repetition of this line involves the reader in the poem as if they are the person that the speaker is in a new relationship with. The speaker doesn’t want to talk about the old relationships, they are just wanted to focus on being in Paris.

Stanza 3/4
Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre
If we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame,
If we skip the Champs Elysées
And remain here in this sleazy

Old hotel room
Doing this and that
To what and whom
Learning who you are,
Learning what I am.

The speaker doesn't want to do the conventional, 'romantic’ things that couples in Paris usually do, emphasised by the word choices here.

The gap in the stanzas and enjambment emphasises the 'sleazy' 'old' room — This is definitely not a romantic trip to Paris.

'Old hotel room' Probably a euphemism considering the lines before it...

Stanza 5
Don't talk to me of love. Let's talk of Paris,
The little bit of Paris in our view.
There's that crack across the ceiling
And the hotel walls are peeling
And I'm in Paris with you.

Repetition here again emphasising that this is not a love poem or a romantic relationship.

The speaker is constantly trying to change the subject away from their relationship by talking about Paris instead.

Emphasises that the only pans of Paris they have seen are the inside of the ‘sleazy’ hotel room.

Stanza 6
Don't talk to me of love. Let's talk of Paris.
I'm in Paris with the slightest thing you do.
I'm in Paris with your eyes, your mouth,
I'm in Paris with... all points south.
Am I embarrassing you?
I'm in Paris with you.

Repetition of the command again!

If you change the word ‘Paris’ to 'love’ in this stanza then the lines in this stanza make more sense but remember the speaker is trying NOT to be in love because of the bad relationship at the start.


Suggests that the speaker has got to know the other person quite well since they have been in Paris.

Definitely a euphemism - Then the speaker uses a rhetorical question to simultaneously speak to the reader and their lover.


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