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

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Explore the different types of relationships in "Valentine" and "Before You Were Mine". Both these poems convey the theme of love in varied forms. In "Valentine", Duffy dispels the superficial view of love the media has presented to us and reveals the reality. In "Before You Were Mine", Duffy has divulged another side to love: the unique bond between a child and its mother, which is slightly possessive. Of course Duffy makes these common themes unique with her own, slightly strange point of view. For example, in "Before You Were Mine" she takes on the persona of the child rather than the mother. This makes it an original portrayal of this theme. "Valentine" is also an original depiction of love. It exposes what real love is, rather than the glorious view that media presents to us. Duffy compares an onion to real love in "Valentine", rather than the typical box of chocolates or roses. The title "Before You Were Mine" implies it is a love poem involving a girl and a boy. However, it is the child almost "spying" on her mother's life before she was born. The poem then continues when Duffy is born. This creates a tension between the past and the present, which is characteristic of Duffy's poems. In this essay, I will investigate the different types of relationships present, and the poetic devices used by Duffy to portray these themes effectively. ...read more.


Love reveals human emotions, layer by layer. Love is baring your soul to your partner and removing all the superficial layers. It can also represent sex, as you remove your clothes and undress. There are many facets to the relationship once you are in love. After this promising and positive side of love in the first stanza, Duffy immediately follows this up with the negative side of love and the way "it will blind you with tears". This is what an onion literally does to you when you cut it. Love also brings pain as well as pleasure, "it will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief". When you look in the mirror, your image will be distorted as your eyes will be full of tears from grief. The use of the word "photo" suggests you will be look your best as we all look our best and make an effort when posing for photos. Love makes you more self conscious and you start adorning yourself more and you become very beauty conscious. There is a great contrast between the first and second stanza. The first is all about the "moon" and "light", whereas the second is about "tears" and "grief". This emphasises real love and the way you are on an emotional rollercoaster. It is not all just an ascent to heaven as the media leads us to believe, Duffy is "trying to be truthful". ...read more.


It is impossible to carry on as before and you will never be the same again, "its scent will cling to your fingers, cling to your knife". Repetition of "cling" emphasises the fact that love is possessive. This side of love is never really shown in the media, and is yet again, another example of Duffy's true depiction of love. Both poems "Valentine" and "Before You Were Mine" are poems consisting of the theme of love. However, there are many forms of love, and in this case, it's the romantic love and filial love being considered. Although these themes have been written about before, this is a very individual and original interpretation by Duffy. "Valentine" is an extended metaphor and it is a dramatic monologue. She compares love to an onion, which is not at all attractive. However, it dispels the glittering and glamorous image of love we have been exposed to by the media. It prepares us for the negative feelings love always brings. "Before You Were Mine" is a poem where Duffy takes on the persona of the child yearning for its mother before it was even born. The roles of mother and child are reversed in this poem. The child watches over her mother and watches her grow from a young and carefree girl, to an older, wiser woman, married with children. Both poems use many poetic devices to draw the reader into the poem and they were both wonderful depictions of love. Aisha Hussain Page 1 09/05/2007 ...read more.

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