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

Carol Ann Duffy - 'Valentine' and 'Before You Were Mine'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Carol Ann Duffy- 'Valentine' and 'Before You Were Mine' Question 3 In this piece, I am writing about the two poems, 'Valentine' and 'Before You Were Mine'. Both poems have many strong emotions and feelings The title of the poem 'Valentine' written by Carol Ann Duffy is very misleading. One would expect to read romantic love, instead she writes about the cynicism of love. This would lead you to believe that she has been hurt in previous romantic liaisons. The poem starts off with a positive statement-'not a red rose, or a satin heart'. By this she is stating that she will not give her lover a conventional valentine present. The make up and use of these consonants portrays a feeling of harshness and sets the tone of the poem. The poet has chosen to give her lover an onion. She uses the onion to symbolize love. This indicates that we never really know what a person is really intending, or that the romantic happiness that we expect to enjoy more often than not turns sour and unpleasant. She uses a metaphor to convey this idea. 'I give you an onion, it is moon wrapped in brown paper,'- With this imagery she creates an air of suspense. ...read more.

Middle

The possessive pronoun 'Mine' enforces the idea of a close mother daughter relationship. She can imagine her mother 'ma' waiting to reprehend her for being late. Knowing her mother has spirit, she will think that the punishment was nothing compared to the fun she had just had. 'You reckon it's worth it'. Carol Ann Duffy realizes that her birth changed her mother's life dramatically; she had to be responsible and look after her from a child through to adulthood. In the third stanza, she states that the ten years before she was born were probably the best years of her mother's life. 'The decade ahead of my loud possessive yell was the best one, eh?' She uses a rhetorical question. She does not really want her mother to confirm that statement. In her imagination, she sees her mother clattering in high heeled shoes 'I remember my hand in those high heeled red shoes relics and now your ghost clatters towards me over George Square'- the image is vivid she uses an effective metaphor to show this is like 'a scent'. She indicates once more that her mother was a free spirit 'and those small bites on your neck, sweet heart?'- Another rhetorical question. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poet uses effective ways and different techniques to portray her ideas and entertain. In both poems, terms such as similes, "like a lover", used in "Valentine", he repeated 'l' sounds almost as if the poet was teasing us, as if she knows the relationship will not work out. However "clear as scent", as used in "Before You Were Mine", gives the feeling of sincerity. She also uses interesting metaphors, "Like a moon wrapped in brown paper" this creates an air of mystery around the subject. And alliteration, "trying to be truthful" the repetition of the 't' sound gives a feeling of sincerity and honesty. Enjambment and caesura are used in "Before You Were Mine" as well as rhetorical questions, creating interest, "the decade ahead of my loud possessive yell was the best one eh?" I enjoyed studying both 'Valentine' and 'Before You Were Mine'. But I preferred 'Valentine'. It interests me how Carol Ann Duffy conceived the idea of comparing love to an onion. I would like to ask her what inspired her in writing this poem, as it is unusual and clever. There is a lot of truth in this poem, but it is represented in a very different way to what the reader would of expected from its name. This poem represents the true conundrum of Love. ...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 Love Poetry 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 Love Poetry essays

  1. Valentine v First Love Valentine is by Ann Duffy. The first thing that ...

    It also means that love is takes a long time to grow and show it true colours, and that it's very fragile and soft. This simile also happens to be an extended metaphor. "It is a moon wrapped in brown paper" This metaphor just basically describes an onion but in a more poetic way.

  2. Critical review of Carol Ann Duffy's poem 'Mean Time'.

    Both poems are similar in the way they talk about love, they both emphasis that love has its good sides but also has its negative sides too. In 'Valentine' she describes love as it will blind you with tears,

  1. In "Valentine", Duffy uses the onion to give an original and, in some ways, ...

    "Its scent will cling to your fingertips, cling to your knife". The repetition of the word 'cling' is effective. The word 'knife' gives the image of a wound and the sharpness of their relationship. This may be due to the fact that Carol Ann Duffy has been hurt in previous relationships.

  2. Compare the ways in which a sense of drama and romance is created in ...

    this is also tragic because it says ' Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.' In stanza fifteen the highwayman races back to the old-inn and is shot down. ' when they shot him down on the highway, down like a dog on

  1. Explore the different types of relationships in "Valentine" and "Before You Were Mine".

    It emphasises the closeness of their relationship. It should be the reverse: maternal love, as the child belongs to the mother, but it is Duffy spying on her mother's life ten years before she was born. This is quite a clever twist to the poem and makes it very innovative.

  2. By close study of Valentine and I Wouldnt Thank You for a Valentine, show ...

    He repeatedly cheated on her, and merely used his gift of poetry to make things up to her. Duffy has a twelve year old daughter named Ella, who is the product of an affair with writer Peter Benson in 1995.

  1. I am going to compare three different poems: "My Box" by Gillian Clarke, "Valentine" ...

    � Already, from this first line of the poem, the readers know the poem is going to be negative because it starts with 'not�. The first line is not part of a stanza so I feel the poet has done this for emphasis and effect.

  2. Valentineby Carol Ann Duffy and "One Flesh" by Elizabeth Jennings.

    One Flesh In 'One Flesh' Jennings herself appears to be one of the key things that connects her parents together. The poem describes her parents in a more personal, intimate way. It describes how the passion of their relationship - which produced their child - has 'grown cold'.

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