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Duffy's Style

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Duffy's Style In her poems Carol Ann Duffy explores many subjects and themes including love, a female's perspective of well known legend, dream-like poems, other people and poems from her own experience. Some poems with these themes include, 'Valentine', 'Mrs. Midas', 'Dream of a Lost Friend', 'War Photographer' and 'Originally'. Many of Duffy's poems are in a speaking voice (monologue). Some are humorous, some serious and others are very realistic. The poet uses images and imagery, sensory and emotional writing to convey ideas. To make the reader aware of an important part of the poem or to keep an idea with them, Duffy uses a variety of sentence structures and different styles. She often uses narrators. A persona (which most of her poems are set in) allows Duffy to express an idea from another point of view. The structure that she uses in her poems contains regular stanzas and both internal and external rhyme. In this essay I will be discussing the poems Valentine, War Photographer and Prayer. I have chosen Valentine, as it is a poem that has a touch of humour but also brings about a serious point about love. It makes the reader think about love from a different angle and it challenges people's ideas about valentine. War Photographer is a poem that is written from a serious view. I have chosen this poem as it makes the reader think about someone who has had to witness war and the way they feel. It also makes you think about the consequences of war. Carol Ann Duffy conveys many ideas in this poem and uses words that make the reader look closer at what she is actually trying to convey. Valentine is a poem based on a traditional idea and event but is twisted. In this poem Duffy challenges ideas of the 'normal' Valentine. The poem is written in the first person and addresses the lover in the second person by using 'you'. ...read more.


The red light is the infrared light in the darkroom but can also be associated with the coloured lantern in the church. We can see from, 'as though this were a church and he a priest' that the photographer is being compared to priest as he takes his job very seriously, and how he stands up for those who cannot help themselves. His darkroom is being compared to a church. The last line is made up from a series of one-word sentences. This is deliberately done to make these words echo in the readers' minds. The words 'Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh.' are names of cities that have been plagued with wars and suffering. The end of the line is a Biblical quotation; 'All flesh is grass'. It is taken from the Old Testament- from Isaiah. Isaiah compares the shortness of human life with eternal religious truths. In the poem, the sentence follows a list of names. These are places where life is much shorter than normal, because of wars. The first stanza is setting the scene to introduce the rest of the poem and make the reader aware of what the poem is about. The second stanza tells the reader of the photographer's emotions. We see his true feelings and what he is really like. The beginning statement is, 'He has a job to do' this sounds like a strong empowering sentence although it is plain. This is because it has no emotion in it. We as readers want to read on as the sentence does not reveal everything and thus more information needs to be gained. The nest part of that line tells us that the photographer is developing the negatives. 'Solutions slop in trays' this is another example of Carol Ann Duffy using double meanings, for the quotation could also mean that the problems finally have an answer. This stanza contrasts the photographer's calmness when taking pictures with his attitude as he develops them. ...read more.


This could be translated as then external part of our bodies, which indicate sadness. The short sentence helps the reader to understand and decide upon the three ideas. But the reader then becomes puzzled by the next phrase; 'Inside, the radio's prayer' they have to think for a while and the poem has to be re-read for any clues. By this phrase Duffy perhaps relates 'inside' to our souls and the radio to an automatic device (which forms part of us) and in turn it becomes tuned to force us to pray beyond our intentions. The fact that she leaves the sentence open means that she wants her readers to make their own decision and come to some conclusion. But in terms of where the sound is coming from I think Duffy is talking of a shipping forecast. I like all three of these poems as they are different in terms of subject, the point Duffy is trying to get across and they have different meanings to them. In my opinion none of the poems are similar. Valentine is a poem based on love and the realities of love. War photographer is a poem based on war and somebody's feelings towards it and Prayer is a poem based on religion and people's feelings. However all three poems have a serious tone to them. Valentine talks of the fact that love should be taken seriously, War Photographer shows the seriousness of war and Prayer talks of the sadness in people's hearts. I think that Valentine and Prayer are poems written from Duffy's experience so the poems are more personnel however War Photographer is based on somebody's job and what they see, although the other two poems are written involving others. In Valentine, Prayer and War Photographer Duffy uses a double meaning for some words and thus has used her vocabulary effectively. She conveys her ideas clearly and concisely and often makes the reader reflect on the poems and think of their opinions and whether or not they agree with Duffy. ...read more.

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