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Compare and contrast two poems, one by Liz Lochhead and one by Carol Ann Duffy, taking account of the methods (situation, form and structure, and language, including imagery, and tone) which each poet uses to write about relationships between men and women.

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Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Compare and contrast two poems, one by Liz Lochhead and one by Carol Ann Duffy, taking account of the methods (situation, form and structure, and language, including imagery, and tone) which each poet uses to write about relationships between men and women. Standing Female Nude by Duffy and The Redneck by Liz Lochhead are two unique poems featuring strong female personas. They focus on the relationships that the speakers have with men: in Standing Female Nude the reader is presented with the relationship between artist and model, whereas in The Redneck the relationship explored is that of a woman and her former husband. In examining how these relationships are conveyed, a good place to start are the titles of the poems. The title of Standing Female Nude focusses on the woman as an impersonal object, but it also has a certain element of defiance. Duffy uses the active verb, ?standing,? suggesting that this woman refuses to be dominated. Contrastingly the title of The Redneck focusses instead on the man of the poem. A redneck is a derogatory American term for a working-class white person from the southern US, especially a politically reactionary one. ...read more.

Middle

At times it is hard to tell who is exploiting who. Another comparison that can be drawn is that both poems use imagery that is sinister and has connotations of violence. In Standing Female Nude Duffy writes, ?I shall be represented analytically and hung.? She means her painting will be hung in a gallery but the clever use of enjambment makes it sound as if she is being condemned. Correspondingly, in The Redneck Lochhead writes that the husband has, ?a knife stuck down his sock.? Again there is a reasonable explanation for this but the way it is written has an ominous effect on the reader. These references suggest that relationships between men and women condemn the woman to a lifetime of misery and pain. Both Duffy and Lochhead make reference to the beginning of the poem in the conclusion. In Standing Female Nude the first and last lines both speak about money: ?six hours like this for a few francs,? and, ?Twelve francs and get my shawl.? The first and last thoughts of the speaker are about money. She is a prostitute; for her the relationship between men and woman is simply a way to make a living. ...read more.

Conclusion

One provides us with a real time relationship, the other is a retrospective evaluation of a relationship that has ended. However, the structure of the two poems is largely similar. Both Duffy and Lochhead break their poems into stanzas but do not use a regular meter or rhyme scheme; they prefer to use free verse. This is effective because it reflects the authenticity of the relationships between men and women presented, in direct contrast to the complicated structure of over-romanticised love poems. These poems could be an attempt to deconstruct the tropes that make up a typical relationship poem. The most effective structuring method that Lochhead utilises in The Redneck is finishing with a tornada (a shorter and isolated concluding stanza). The physical appearance of the poem on the page conveys the breakup the speaker experienced, and it could also represent how destructive relationships can lead to men breaking women. To conclude, Standing Female Nude by Duffy and The Redneck by Liz Lochhead both present the reader with negative and destructive representations of the relationships between men and women. There is a definite feminist undertone to both texts, particularly Standing Female Nude. Both poets seek to challenge the archaic notion that women must rely on men. In the words of Cheris Kramarae, ?Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.? ...read more.

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