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Carol Ann Duffys Valentine is an original and intriguing poem. Initially, the poem appears to be appertained with giving an unusual gift for St. Valentines Day.

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Introduction

Valentine Carol Ann Duffy's 'Valentine' is an original and intriguing poem. Initially, the poem appears to be appertained with giving an unusual gift for St. Valentine's Day. However, the poem is in fact concerned with the exploration of the importance of love and relationships - the two central themes of the poem. Duffy argues, through use of an extended metaphor, that love is like an onion. She argues that this is an original and thoughtful gift. The poem's title, Valentine, is deliberately misleading: the immediate association of 'Valentine' is St. Valentine's Day - the connotations of this include traditional symbols of romantic love: flowers, roses, chocolates, Cupid, hearts and gifts. However, this clich�d notion of romance is instantly rejected in the first line of the poem: "Not a red rose or a satin heart". It is clear that Duffy rejects these easily recognisable and familiar symbols of love as they are pass� and unoriginal. It could also be suggested that the popularity of roses, chocolates, etc. ...read more.

Middle

In mythology, it was thought that the moon had the power to govern women's passions, and is linked to Diana, the Roman moon goddess. Also, the moon is 'wrapped in brown paper', where the brown paper is like the outer skin of the onion, and supports the idea that it's a gift ('wrapped'). The image created is one of hope and romance: the luminous white of the onion visually contrasts with the dull brown colour of the paper bag. Also, the colour white has connotations of purity, sincerity and morality; further convincing the reader of Duffy's argument. Continuing the metaphor of love as being like an onion, Duffy writes 'It promises light, like the careful undressing of love'. This is a persuasive image, which describes the optimism of love, and the persona's view of love. The moon symbolically suggests hope, which 'promises light' - in a literal sense, this is true, as the moon gives light in a time of darkness, but in a metaphorical sense it offers enlightenment, or understanding, of love. ...read more.

Conclusion

The language reflects the simplicity of the persona's love - it is straightforward and honest. The use of personal pronouns (and of first person narration) creates a sincere and personal tone ('I am trying to be truthful'), once again convincing the reader of Duffy's argument. However, Duffy's word choice suggests an ambiguity in the love between the poem's two lovers. Initially, the connotations of words including 'promise', 'light', 'lover', and 'truthful' are positive. Yet, there is a clear turning point where love is described with words which have negative connotations: 'fierce', 'possessive', 'lethal' and 'knife'. This calls into question whether love is genuine in the poem, specifically, if it is reciprocated to the persona... In conclusion, Carol Ann Duffy's 'Valentine' is a poem which examines the importance of love and relationships, in a direct and simple style. The sincerity of the poem's lovers is convincing to great extent, however, the reader isn't completely convinced. Duffy's implicit argument, of metaphorically comparing an onion to love, is intriguing, original and convincing: what she ultimately suggests is that perhaps love is a complicated mystery, like life itself. ...read more.

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