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Before you were mine by Carol Ann Duffy

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Before you were mine 'Before you were mine' is a poem written by Carol Ann Duffy. It's a retrospective poignant dramatic monologue, which tells us about her mother's life ten years before Duffy was born. The title suggests that it's a love poem which shows the strong mother and daughter relationship that they had. The poem starts off with a positive image. "...laugh on with your pals Maggie McGeeney and Jean Duff...". This shows us that before her mother had children, she was living a very interesting and cheerful life. Duffy moves on by describing her mother's romantic character. "...the fizzy, movie tomorrows...". The fact that her mother used to go to the movies late at night suggests that she used to go with a lover, which is a very passionate image. ...read more.


This is proved later on when Duffy says "...my hands in those high-heeled red shoes, relics...". This quote tells us that Duffy's mother now has a child, therefore her shoes have gone out of fashion and old. This is because in those days a mother's role was to stay at home with her children, which meant that Duffy's mother couldn't go out and dance in those red high-heeled shoes like she used to before she had her child. This again brings us back to the point that when Carol Ann Duffy was born, she took over her mother's life. Duffy then shows us the way her mother uses to be. "...and now your ghost clatters towards me...till I see you, clear as scent...". The word 'ghost' shows us that it's a memory of her mum's life, which is still very clear in her mind and linked with her emotions and senses because she could still 'see as clear as scent'. ...read more.


Carol Ann Duffy keeps emphasizing throughout the poem that her mother will always have a rebellious aspect of nature. This is shown when Duffy mixes up the past with the present, and says "Whose small bites on your neck, sweetheart?". Even after her mother got a child, Duffy uses this quote to claim that her mother still has a part of her rebellious nature from her past, which will stay with her for life, even though she sacrificed her rebellious behaviour when she got a child. Duffy starts and ends the poem with the image of a pavement, which means that the poem is cyclical. "...and shriek at the pavement...the wrong pavement...". The imagery of the pavement in the beginning and the end of the poem are negative. This could mean that her mother's rebellious character will never end, which emphasizes that Duffy's love for her mother also never end no matter what her mother's like. ...read more.

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