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Discuss how ‘A Woman’s Question’ by Adelaide Anne Procter and ‘Valentine’ by Carol Anne Duffy explore how women of different periods view their relationships

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Introduction

GCSE Coursework Essay-Poetry Discuss how 'A Woman's Question' by Adelaide Anne Procter and 'Valentine' by Carol Anne Duffy explore how women of different periods view their relationships 'A Woman's Question' was written in the 19th Century and 'Valentine' is a modern poem which was written in the 1990s. This fact is fairly obvious from not only the content of the poems, but the style in which they are written, too. It also affects how the women generally view their relationships. Both show evidence of how society viewed women, and despite the different times in which they lived, they both rebel against traditional ideas of the time in certain ways. Procter and Duffy view their respective relationships very differently. Procter seems to be quite insecure about her partner, and wants to know whether he is going to leave her, and also talks about how she wants him to be completely honest with her. Duffy on the other hand, is very realistic about her relationship and not over-romantic. This does not mean that she does not think love is important; she just does not depend on her partner and does not talk about love using elaborate, romantic phrases. ...read more.

Middle

This could also mean she is showing that she is challenging expectations of the then current time (19th Century) with her poem and her beliefs, and showing this through the stanzaic form. Another way in which Procter challenges expectations is in her use of imperatives. The style of writing in this poem is quite gentle, but there a few commanding phrases, like "Speak now", which do not fit with the rest of the poem. This effect may surprise the reader, who may have initially thought it was a poem written in a fairly gentle style, e.g. romantic and old-fashioned wording is used. In 'Valentine', Duffy does not follow a specific form, and this is referred to as free verse, nor does she use much rhyming language, which means the poem is not very rhythmic. This style could show that it is a more modern poem-less passionate and exaggerated. This could mean that Duffy, too, is challenging expectations, only she does it in a more obvious way. Her view of love is not at all what someone might expect a woman's to be. She uses a lot of short statements, and imperatives, such as "Take it". ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that 'A Woman's Question' is basically Procter questioning whether her partner is as ready to commit to her 'Fate' as she is to his. I do not get the impression that she believes in fate, and everything happening for a reason, which is why she does not want him, if he deserts her, to blame it on 'fate'. I think she believes in making the future happen for herself, partly because she is making this huge decision for herself, and not leaving it up to him or fate. It may even be an 'illicit' or 'forbidden' affair, which maybe why she is so worried. Valentine, I think, is more about the different layers of love, and the complexities. Duffy is also questioning whether he's ready to commit to her, but instead of fixating on this one question, like Procter in 'A Woman's Question', she proceeds to tell him about the bad and good points of love. The end of the poem is not particularly final (it ends with 'cling to your knife'), as it is in 'A Woman's Question', but instead almost leaves more time for him to make up his mind, almost like she has not finished talking to him. She ends with a statement, but it is not one commanding for him to make his mind up about whether he wants to commit to her. ...read more.

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