• 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)

    But there is however more importance on the three consecutive lines 'when a face...next to my own' the use of 'swam' on this occasion creates an image of distortion, suggesting a lack of focus. A mirror however frames an image and the face is 'next to my own': this implies

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

    In fact Lockhead describes her poem as a rap, which is ironic because a rap would usually be associated with gangsters and street gangs, rather than the traditional type of love music, like Ballad or lyric poetry. Alliteration features quite regularly throughout the poem.

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

    like the famous photograph of 'Marilyn' Monroe. The second stanza tells of the mother's teenage dreams of the 'fizzy movie tomorrows' and meeting boyfriends 'under the tree', coming home late with 'small bites' on her neck and facing her mother's beatings if she arrived home late. This shows that Duffy recognises that all mothers have mothers -

  2. An evaluation of TWO poems on the theme of 'outsider'- 'Education for leisure' by ...

    in 'Miracle on St David's day' the patient wants to be invisible so he is unnoticed. The title 'Education for leisure' also means 'education for freedom or free time' this could suggest what the man does in his spare time which would refer to slaughtering.

  1. Poems by Carol Ann Duffy.

    I think it's a shock for him, her lover. She's trying to tell him gently that she is not happy. We become more interested in this lady because why did she stay in the relationship if it is so bad. The lady then repeats again nice traditional valentine gifts, like cute cards kissograms and then quite abruptly again says

  2. Carol Ann Duffy - Childhood and Youth

    world "you ran through the gates, as the sky spilt up into a thunderstorm". A thunderstorm could metaphorically represent the threat this would poses on these innocent children who are inexperienced and not prepared for real life. As the poem progresses the child becomes more inquisitive and starts to grow

  1. 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.

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

    After the first line, there is the anticlimactic statement, ?I give you onion?. This humorously pitiful statement employs bathos and thereby illustrates the disparity between the surface appearance of love and the true depth of it. The onion is a symbol for their love.

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