Bully By Andrew Smith – Summary and Analysis


The poem ‘Bully’ is about relationships and the poet’s attitude toward them. By naming the poem ‘bully,’ Andrew Smith informs the reader right away that this is a poem on the bad aspects of relationships. The title does not reveal who the bully is. It is obvious that this relationship includes both pain and suffering. This anguish and agony may be seen throughout the poem. The effect on the reader is that they may be perplexed by these contradicting sentiments, which is likely how Smith feels.

The obvious theme of this poem is that it is about two people who did not get along in school but subsequently became friends and married. The apparent implication is that relationships evolve. The other individual is still a bully, according to a deeper connotation. The underlying meaning is that relationships may appear to have altered, but they may not be. Relationships, according to the poet, are not always clear. The word “cause” makes me believe that the abuse is still going on. Andrew Smith would have used the word ’caused’ if this had happened in the past.


Relationships, according to Andrew Smith, are complicated and multifaceted. On the one hand, relationships are romantic and loving. This is demonstrated through the employment of the sonnet form. The poem is written in the style of a Shakespearean sonnet, with 14 lines of iambic pentameter, an ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme, and so on. Smith demonstrates the loving nature of the relationship by employing the style of a well-known type of love poetry. However, the usage of the sonnet form in this poem is more subversive – it isn’t until the volta at the end that we realise this poem is about a marriage.

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The reader is surprised to learn that these obviously combative people are married, as a result of this unexpected twist. Perhaps Smith is astonished at how he ended up in this marriage. Furthermore, it is critical to note that the poem is not a perfect sonnet — the final line, ‘That’s why in the end I took you as my wife,’ has 11 syllables when it should only have 10. This implies that there is more lying beneath the surface of this supposedly happy marriage – perhaps it isn’t quite that joyful at all but is really a façade, similar to the forced and ultimately erroneous usage of the sonnet form.

The wording of the poem certainly does not give the impression that the relationship is pleasant. By naming the poem “bully,” it is apparent that this relationship includes anguish and misery. This anguish and agony may be seen throughout the poem. In reality, the use of the verb ’cause’ in verse one suggests that the relationship is still unhappy. This use of the present tense may be a subtle signal that the ‘bullying’ of their upbringing is still present in their modern marriage. In this interpretation, childhood bullying could even be interpreted as a metaphor for relationship abuse. Smith may be portraying the topic using childlike imagery to express how he feels about it.

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