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Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy is an irregular poem with a direct tone. The language is very simple and gets straight to the point.

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Introduction

"Valentine" by Carol Ann Duffy Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy is an irregular poem with a direct tone. The language is very simple and gets straight to the point. The title suggests love as Valentines Day is a day to celebrate love on the 14th of February 'Not a red rose or a satin heart, I give you an onion', The reader is immediately taken back by the randomness and obscurity of this Valentine's Day gift. An onion is a cooking ingredient, not at all something special or beautiful worth giving a lover as a special present. The first line is negative, this person's lover will not receive a rose or a soft heart, they will get an onion. There is a very big contrast here. The second line is very humorous, and not very romantic. An onion could represent a lot of things. An onion is very ordinary, a lot like a real relationship, with normal problems. ...read more.

Middle

we are talking about real, ordinary love: 'For as long as we are' This sentence is used to show that not all relationships last forever, this line is very honest, it prepares us for the harsh reality. In the sixth stanza, Duffy uses the language of a wedding as she offers her onion gift: "I give you an onion" sounds like "I give you a ring". She uses words like "faithful" and "for as long as we are" to refer to the length of time the relationship will last. Duffy states that the taste and scent of an onion are like the passion of love. An onion is a good symbol for passion because its taste remains with you: "stay on your lips" An onion is not sweet like a "red rose" but it is savoury. Its taste lingers. When a relationship fails, bitter feelings remain so this is a good comparison with an onion. ...read more.

Conclusion

Knives are used to cut onions, and are capable of "causing" the wound that love makes-a broken heart. This stanza upsets your expectations of love. It stops you from thinking that there's always a happy ending. It shows you that love can be perfect, but one unexpected day it will turn and leave a 'scent' on you. Maybe the writer wants the reader to feel that love can scar, it might not ever go away, just like Valentines Day. I feel that Duffy manages to convey, what some would feel to be, a brutally honest opinion of love. Duffy uses images of conventional tokens of affection (e.g. a red rose, cute card, satin heart) ironically and contrasts this with an "onion" - a new unique symbol shows the honest representation of love. The poet compares the onion's physical resemblance to a "moon" - another image which is associated with love and romance. Duffy tries to be "truthful", admitting that love and the onion, will "blind you with tears like a lover" - "its fierce kiss will stay on your lips". ?? ?? ?? ?? Scott Ryan-Mitchell ...read more.

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