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What do you find interesting about the way Duffy presents loving relationships in three poems in this collection?

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Introduction

What do you find interesting about the way Duffy presents loving relationships in three poems in this collection? (The Other Country) In the volume 'The Other Country' Duffy examines a multiplicity of themes, one of which being the idea of a 'platonic, sexual or romantic love as being another country'. Another of Duffy's chief concerns in this volume is the failure of language to express truth or meaning. The poet's presentation of loving relationships differs in each of her poems, as in the poem 'Girlfriends' where the loving relationship is suggested to be one between two women and in which Duffy examines the relationship of the self in relation to the other. Conversely, 'Words, Wide Night' and 'Dream of a Lost Friend' also examine loving relationships, however the latter explores a more platonic relationship rather than sexual like in 'Girlfriends'. Duffy explores a range of techniques to portray the relationships being examined creating feelings of nostalgia, memories and physical distance, as in 'Words, Wide Night'. ...read more.

Middle

The entire poem is rather ironic as dreams as mainly associated with hope and positive images but instead this poem contradicts this and creates anxiety of separation and loss in the reader. The anxiety is reinforced through the juxtaposition of the conscious and unconscious and the use of italics further emphasizes the confusion of the self in relation to the other, 'help me...it's only a dream...How do you feel? '. The use of italics does not only enhance this idea but also is used a summary of each stanza's main points and create the uncertainty of who exactly could be speaking, by combining formal and informal sentences, 'I missed your funeral''. The idea of the self in relation to the other is explored in all three poems, however in a variety of ways. In 'Girlfriends' it is explored in a sexual, sensual manner, using language that suggests closeness and union, 'we slept in a single bed' and through the sense of mirror images of oneself, 'the pink shadows'. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Girlfriends' focuses on the danger of emotional connection and this becomes more apparent towards the end of the poem, where the language becomes more perilous reflecting the fear of giving yourself fully to another person. This is reinforced even at the height of climax where the persona feels disembodied, as she still has one ear open to reality, 'back...squeezed...Also I remember hearing'. Irrefutably Duffy succeeds in portraying loving relationships in a variety of forms, whilst simultaneously identifying issues concerning society. 'Girlfriends' is Duffy's attempt to defy stereotypical comments of lesbian encounters and showing the sensuality, closeness and passion connected with such encounters. 'Words, Wide Night' focuses on relationships, love and imagery of separation and the mixed up feelings that love causes. Duffy changes her style to a more colloquial one in the final poem where she describes the personal loss linked with the socio-political issues of AIDS and the stigma attached to the disease and the gay community, separating them from society. Haroulla Theocharous ...read more.

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