Many of Carol Ann Duffy’s poems are about people. Choose two poems, in which, particular people are described and explain how the structure and language of each poem makes the people interesting. Carol Ann Duffy is a famous poet she has written many great poems such as ‘Valentine’ and ‘Stealing’. Both of the poems are about people and their feelings. In Valentine and Stealing Carol Ann Duffy has written them in a way, which the reader feels emotionally involved with the person in the poem. This is because the people and their feelings are expressed in a way, which they seem personal to the person who ‘s telling them.She makes the people in the poems interesting, making the reader want to read on. The two poems Valentine and Stealing are about people and their lives but they are shown in different ways.
Stealing is about a man who tells us what he has stolen that’s unusual. The Stealer then gradually starts to tell a story about the time he stole a snowman. In the story he tells us his feelings in why he steals. Valentine is a totally different poem to Stealing.
Valentine is about a woman who gives her lover an onion for Valentines Day. The onion is symbolic, to describe there relationship and that they have problems as a couple.In Valentine Carol Ann Duffy describes the feelings of the woman to her lover. Valentine When you think of Valentine you think of happiness love, sweet joy, anything that is good related with love. Giving the impression that the poem is going to be about loves happiness etc. We are still given this impression even when the poem starts ‘Not a red rose or a satin heart’ This tells us that someone has thought hard about the Valentine message she is going to give, rather than traditional presents. This person in the poem is making us wait before she tells us what she has bought her lover, making the reader curious about her.The woman has then started to build the excitement of her lover by making him wait a bit longer.
‘I give you ‘ this starts to build the excitement even more. What is the mystery present? Then the woman after a period of building up the excitement, finally in the end tells us ‘An Onion’. This makes us think. What! An onion! After all that build up. There is an anti climax because the onion is far from what is expected, making this lady very interesting.She then goes on to tell her lover that the onion is symbolic for their love in many different ways. It is a moon wrapped in brown paper it promises light’ This is a metaphor, the onion is white round and bright like the moon on a clear night and it promises us light like the moon behind a cloud, brown skin, once removed reveals the moon giving light.
This makes the reader think. This is a bit weird. The reader is intrigued and becomes more inquisitive about the woman. ‘Like the careful undressing of love’ meaning love blossoms after the real love comes. Making the reader and her lover think she is happy in the relationship and she has found her soul mate, red love.
It seems odd that she loves her lover but gave him an onion, which is bitter, painful, unpleasant, and a vegetable that brings crying which is sadness. She then changes her attitude ‘Here’ this is made out in a forceful way. Here take it now! We get the feeling that the woman is being possessive in control of the situation. After this her lover’s attitude changes. ‘It will blind you with tears’. This is a simile the onion as it is cut gives off an odour, which makes you cry affecting your vision, making you temporarily ‘blind’.
She then goes on to give an example of this ‘like a lover’.This tell us that at some point the lady has not been happy in the relationship and has been hurt by her lover to make her cry so much it blinded her. This change in heart that the woman has had makes us think that they as a couple have some sort of problem. She then says to him. ‘It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief’. This seems she’s speaking of experience. This is a metaphor, which could mean two things.
She’s looking at a photo crying and she can’t see it in focus or she sees a photo and thinks the relationship isn’t stable, and it’s not right.It’s too much grief for her, which isn’t worth all the trouble. We then find out that she obviously isn’t happy and we get the feeling she wants to break up with him. She then says. ‘I am trying to be truthful’. This means she wants to be straight with him.
I think it’s a shock for him, her lover. She’s trying to tell him gently that she is not happy. We become more interested in this lady because why did she stay in the relationship if it is so bad.
The lady then repeats again nice traditional valentine gifts, like cute cards kissograms and then quite abruptly again says I give you and onion’ I think her lover can’t quite come to terms with what she’s telling him so she starts to explain more. ‘It’s fierce kiss will stay on your lips’ She then starts to become mean saying the onions acidicness hurts the lips like his love hurts her heart. She then goes on to say that her lover was over protective and she’s not at all happy. She now gives us the impression that she wants to break up. Interest is intensified as she could change her mind again. She then becomes angry ‘Take it’ Now giving the onion to her lover, once more in a forceful way.She then has another change of heart ‘Its platinum hoops shrink to a wedding ring if you like. ‘ This seems that the woman is giving her lover the choice of two things.
If he wants, they could get married and start afresh or break up. The choice is his. But before he answers she carries on ‘Lethal’ this is said in a forceful pressured way. It could mean two things, either one the lover chooses could be so terrible, its death or marriage, if it’s wrong could be heart breaking, it could cause death.
She then carries on to the end with, Its scent will cling to your fingers, cling to your knife’ This means that once you are married and if it goes wrong it’s a part of your history for life that you can never change and will cling to you for the rest of your life. Cling to your knife means that if you broke up the marriage or some how [you as in lover] wrecked it you will live it over knowing that he ‘stabbed’ her heart causing her deep pain and upset. Carol Ann Duffy has written the poem in direct speech. It’s as if we’re hearing someone speaking in a conversation but only hearing one side of it.The poem has not been written in regular verses. The irregular verses shows and adds to, how unconventional the relationship is between the lovers.
In the poem there are three words on lines of their own. ‘Here’ on line 6, ‘Take it! ‘ on line18 and ‘Lethal’ on line 71. I think that these words were put on their own to give emphasis to their importance and add force in making their message clear. The words ‘Take it’ and ‘Lethal’ sums up the poem. ‘Here I brought you an onion’, ‘Take it’, She gives the onion to her lover, and ‘Lethal’ indicates that that the relationship is dead, over.Also when the poem started it starts off with a negative feeling, following a loving title. In Valentine all the way through the person speaking is in control of the whole situation and is telling her feelings and that her lover can take note of them because there not going to go, unless he takes to heart how she feels. Now the second poem Stealing.
Stealing might be very different to valentine but the people in it are just as interesting. The poem is a conversation between a stealer and some one in the counselor role, for example a psychologist, policeman, social worker, or a priest.In stealing we only here the stealer speaking. The poem is one side of a conversation. When the poem Stealing starts the conversation between the stealer and the councilor has all ready started, we get the feeling that we have been allowed to listen in to a private, and very personal conversation which makes the people interesting. The poem starts with an unusual question, “The most unusual thing I ever stole? ” This makes us interested in the poem and the people in the poem, cause it’s an unusual question making people eager to find out the answer.Also what the reader gets interested in is that you don’t often here about a thief talking about what he’s stolen.
Making the reader even more interested to read on. When the stealer gives the answer to the question. It is the most unusual thing some one could steal. “A snowman” the answer given by the stealer is quick short to the point and alarming, which has a greater impact on the reader than a long answer. Because the snowman is so unusual it intrigues the reader to read on.
The stealer then starts to talk about why he stole the snowman. He starts off giving a description of the snowman ” He looked magnificent. This makes us think, is this stealer a bit mental because he’s so fascinated in a snowman.
The stealer then goes on to say “I wanted him,” the stealer shows demand, force and selfishness. Near the end of verse one the stealer says, “A mate with as cold as the slice of ice. ” The thief wants a mate as cold and wicked as he is, some one with a heart of ice and the nearest thing to as cold hearted to him is the snowman. This makes the reader interested in the stealer because the stealer obviously hasn’t any friends and is very lonely, people might even take pity on him, making the reader interested in himWhen you look at the poem its very evenly set out. There are five stansers and in each stanser there are five lines. This shows the writer Carol Ann Duffy has put thought in writing the poem and spent time on it.
In verse two Carol has started off the poem with a very negative attitude, ” better of dead”, said by the stealer. This shows us that the stealers view on life (velociphy) is very negative so negative that he thinks there is no point in living if you can’t take what you want. Readers would think this was odd and quite saddening, making the stealer more appealing.He then goes on to say that he gets a “thrill” knowing that people and children would be up-set even crying the next day when they realize the snowman was gone. He then answers with a sarcastic ” life’s tough ” making the reader interested in his wicked cold-hearted sense of humor.
After the second verse the stealer starts to loosen up and becomes relaxed and starts to tell more stories, and give more information. “I steal things I don’t need” This show the reader that the reader is selfish greedy and is very bored. He tells us in the poem he stole a guitar when he doesn’t even know how to play, a bust of Shakespeare but he sold it.In the third verse the stealer describes him self as a “mucky ghost” because he goes into houses and out of then with stuff that he’s stolen and know one sees him. Leaving the house he’s just stolen from a mess.
This tells the reader that the stealer is proud of what he is. The stealer becomes more intriguing when he says this because people don’t understand him. On the fourth verse the stealer then goes back to the story about the snowman. He starts to talk about when he got the snowman back to his yard and started to reassemble it. But as he reassembled the snowman it just didn’t look the same.
And because the snowman didn’t look the same. The stealer, “Took a run and booted him. Again. Again. ” This tells the reader the stealer is violent, lonely and very emotional which is building up inside him until he breaks down and takes his anger out on something like the snowman.
The reader becomes more interested in the stealer because the reader wants to find out more about him and why he behaves the way he does? After the stealer had destroyed the snowman he says “I was standing alone amongst lumps of snow, sick of the world. ” The reader gets the feeling that the stealer is not happy with his life and is very depressed.The stealer is disaffected he doesn’t want to know about anything which is going on around him.
The stealer is alienated he feels he’s not part of the society around him. Verse five Carol has written the poem as if the stealer is answering a question that some one has asked him, but the reader hasn’t heard the question but, we kind of realize what the question is when the stealer answers. It appears to us that the stealer only steals because he gets bored very bored. When the stealers bored he steals, sometimes things he doesn’t want, but he could sell them and get some money.The poem ends with the stealer asking his own question instead of answering them. “You don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you? ” The stealer is trying to get across to the reader that we don’t understand why he steals and we will never know, because we will never be able to see it from his point of view. This question at the end is meant to make them think about the poem after they have read the poem. If the read does carry on thinking about the poem afterwards it means the reader, has been affected by the stealer, making the reader interested in him.
In the poem valentine the relation ship between to lovers interests the reader, by a lady on Valentines Day gives her lover an unusual present. In valentine the is only one person speaking but the reader becomes interested in two individuals trying to sort there love lives out. In the poem stealing a stealer speaks why he steals. We learn that it gives him a buzz in side. Through the poem the stealer expresses his emotions and why he steals, finding out that he’s not happy and leads a very lonely life.
The stealer tells some stories about him stealing making him very interesting to read about.