• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy is a poem which creates a contradiction by contrasting the romantic poem style of the title,

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Valentine' by Carol Ann Duffy is a poem which creates a contradiction by contrasting the romantic poem style of the title, 'Valentine,' with a negative in the opening line, cancelling out any traditional thoughts of valentines, 'Not a red rose or a satin heart.' In this first line Duffy is stating a matter of fact; she also seems to be hinting at a different more tongue in cheek approach to Valentine's Day. Also in this first line she is telling her own valentine not to expect any tradition gifts which are sentimental, romantic or cheesy. She then goes on to offer something out of the ordinary, something very surprising... an onion. She then follows this up with the reasons as to why this vegetable makes the perfect valentines gift, 'It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light like the careful undressing of love.' She possibly chose the moon as her imagery as it's a traditional symbol of love-sickness and strongly influences the moods and emotions of people. Unlike most people Carol Ann Duffys approach to valentines seems to be far from typically love struck and seems to be much more pessimistic. ...read more.

Middle

It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief.' Here she refers to the stinging, burning properties of onions, using a technique which causes readers to almost see the words on the page through tear-filled eyes by use of language such as 'blind,' 'tears,' 'reflection' and 'wobbling.' These words all evoke memories of trying to view images through water. She likens stinging hurts caused by insensitive loves to the blurred vision and sore eyes caused by crying and emotional pain. The personified words 'Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips' refer to the idea that even if you leave your lover and go with someone else, the thought of your old partner will always linger around your mind. She then goes on to mention the concept of 'marriage'. She suggests that the bright white core of the onion is like a wedding ring: 'Its platinum loops shrinks to a wedding ring'. Nevertheless, marriage is just an option; we know this as she follows the statement with the line 'if you like'. If the love doesn't end with marriage, after having had all the 'fun' (physical relationship) ...read more.

Conclusion

The 'n' sound is found twice in 'onion' and its use in the last stanza is a constant reminder of the onion as a new valentine symbol/metaphor. "Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips," the 's' sound imitates the sound of a kiss and is an example of onomatopoeia. I personally think that in this poem Duffys plain speaking talks to the reader about the true realities of love, she is showing that relationships are both fun and painful, I think this due to the object which she is using, as an onion raw is sharp and has an acidic taste however once cooked the onion becomes sweet and soft - she is describing the two feeling of love and explaining what an honest relationship is. I also think that the way in which Duffy ends her anti-romantic poem she is reminding the reader of the violent/dangerous associations of onions and lovers rows - of sharp knives, sliced fingers, the scent and perseverance of a 'fierce kiss' of taste, all of which she compares to some of the less attractive qualities of love such as possession or lack of faithfulness. She is ending the poem on negative points leaving a pessimistic view of Valentine's Day in the readers mind. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Carol Ann Duffy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Carol Ann Duffy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How has Duffy used classical myths in order to comment on the nature of ...

    5 star(s)

    The following stanza, then slowly then describes the mans habits and how the woman humours his male pride and 'never lets on'. Hence Duffy creates a picture of the everyday life of middle England, the rather pompous self-important husband and the wife who humours his ego.

  2. Compare 3 poems by Carol Ann Duffy in which she shows us that things ...

    Both of them have 'In Mrs Tilscher's Class' is a poem that is based on Carol Ann Duffy's own life experience. 'Before you were mine' is another poem like this. It is a nostalgic recalling of the past; she is reminiscing about certain episodes from her mother's life before she was actually born: 'I'm not here yet.'

  1. Carol Ann Duffy - Childhood and Youth

    The language Duffy uses in both "Comprehensive", "In Mrs Tilscher class" as well as "Education for Leisure is basic English, to represent a child's perspective for example "I see that it is good". Both poems also use natural speech in the first person, to show the direct experiences of real- life children.

  2. The two poems which I am going to discuss are "Stealing" and "Valentine" both ...

    She is using alliteration, and the repetition of the't' sound gives it the feeling of sincerity. In the next line she says: "Not a cute card or a kiss-o-gram". Duffy again uses a negative technique to start the line. This line is saying that an onion is not a typical gift.

  1. Duffy's Style

    There are four line verses, with the additional one line of the offering of the gift to the unseen person. The poem has no clear argument however a series of observations are made linked by the theme of love. There are disjointed phrases and single word sentences, for example, 'Not a red rose or satin heart' and 'Here'.

  2. Compare and contrast Carol Ann Duffys treatment of love and language in the poems ...

    This contrast helps add meaning to the actions she is doing. She says she is dreaming him hard - "hard" being an adjective which emphasises how she is dreaming. Then, later on, "like tears, soft, salt, on my lips" which once again is to do with the man's name she is interested in.

  1. By close study of "Valentine" and "I Wouldn't Thank You for a Valentine" shows ...

    The word "fierce" in this phrase puts across a sense of brutality and harshness that would not normally be related with love. Throughout the poem Duffy uses lots of very emotive words that would not normally be used in a love poem such as "grief", "possessive", "lethal" and "cling".

  2. The poem, Valentine, is a monologue by Carol Ann Duffy addressed to her lover.

    It shows Duffy?s defiance of the mundane representation of love. Duffy uses anaphora in her repetition of ?Not a? in the lines ?Not a red rose or a satin heart? and ?Not a cute card or a kissogram?. This emphasizes Duffy?s dislike of empty and stereotypical gestures of love.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work