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Duffy - Little Red

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Introduction

The poem starts with a fast paced first line, commas are used frequently to fasten the pace of the poem. The enjambment also helps to increase the speed by showing the flow of the lines and show a continuity, and it's only when she first sees the wolf that a full stop is used suggesting that she is startled or in awe of the wolf. She describes her first glimpse of the wolf as "clapping" suggesting that it happened suddenly and hence brings an end to her long fast paced sentence which provides a contrast with the monosyllabic "It was there that I first clapped eyes on the wolf." In the next stanza, the pace is fastened again; the use of commas makes the sentences longer as does the enjambment. The rhyme of "paw" and "haw" also increases the pace suggesting that she is excited by his "verse" and even when the lines are ended with exclamation marks, the repetition of 'What big..' which both allows the continuing speed and allows the reader to parallel the lines from the original Little Red Cap, but Duffy uses it as a compliment. ...read more.

Middle

- or even a paedophile, this is reinforced by the double entendre of being at "childhood's end" which could either mean adolescence or the death of a child, the fact she "crawls" in his wake - much like a child and the "blazer" she is wearing which has connotations of schoolgirl. His "thrashing" paints a violent picture of her "first time", and the fact that she "clung" on, suggests that she is holding on for her survival. She then sarcastically and rhetorically asks "for what little girl doesn't dearly love a wolf?", this question not only draws attention to the fact that she is a "girl" (and not a 'woman') but the endearing "love" she is referring to seems to be in stark contrast to the violent clinging and thrashing aforementioned. The wolf thus appears in an incriminating way and Duffy does this to show how the male literary world is somewhat corrupt and exploitative, in the sense that here is a "girl" who wants to learn and yet she must leave "scraps of red" where she has been violated. ...read more.

Conclusion

She hurts him like he did her, by silencing him (a cut to the "throat") and also cutting his "scrotum", which symbolises two things, how he used her for sex and also making sure that this traditional male poetry world does not produce seed so that it carries on and in doing so she liberates the "bones" of the women who came before her, the fact they are "glistening" shows that they like the books and the eyes of the owl are knowledgeable and also shows how much better they are compared to the wolf's "aging" and "grey" fur even after all these years. Duffy also uses colloquial language to show how she got her own back, she "stitches" him up, this can also be said to be her own personality coming out for in her poems she often speaking mockingly of the middle class and by using the colloquial language it provides a contrast to them. The structure of Little Red Cap, is eight sestets, this regularity allows her to show her narrative in a structured way and a way in which her rise to being a good poet is done in stages much like her journey. ...read more.

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