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

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

Extracts from this document...


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.

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 made me think if love is everlasting and I have decided that it is because I have living proof of my grandparents and my own parents who are still in very much so in love with their partners.

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

    'I give you an onion'- She uses a metaphor. 'It's fierce kiss will stay on you lip' the bitter taste on an onion remains on a person's lips. The memory of a kiss can stay with one forever. 'Possessive and faithful as we are, for as long as we are' She suggests that love affairs only last for the time that two people are interested in each other.

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

    While both poets were born in Scotland, it's only Lochhead's Scottish heritage that shows through in the poem when she uses terms like "Same Auld Story" and "canny be bothered". One of the most important points to remember when comparing these two poems is that unlike Duffy, Lochhead is not

  2. I have chosen beauty and the Beast as the fairytale I was going to ...

    in control of her destiny. She is the complete opposite to the female character in the original tale in that she only cares about her pleasures and subsequently how to increase them. When her father informs her of what has befallen him, she implores, "I will not go!"

  1. The film trailers designed to promote the film Love Actually represent a particular view ...

    The role of most men in the film is of a high status or managerial post, for example, Huge Grant is the prime minister. On the other hand most women have secondary roles such as Martine McCutcheon. In one of the scenes in trailer one, a woman is sitting in a provocative way, but she is empowered by the man.

  2. Carol Ann Duffy, (born 1958) tackles the issue of love in her poem "Valentine," ...

    and due to this love is shown as an impressive power that has control over the entire natural world. This portrayal of love as a great power is similar to that of "A red red rose," in which love is also depicted as having power over the elements.

  1. Compare the ways that the theme of family relationships are explored in the three ...

    He reconciled himself with the idea that his married friends now must regret the marriage and secretly wish they could escape from it: "The too still harboured dreams of flying free". Patten describes divorce as being "The shadow of that albatross". An albatross is symbolic of bringing doom and disaster.

  2. Explain the principles that Christians believe should guide their personal relationships.

    In marriage forgiveness is an important principle, because although marriage is exclusive relationship adultery occurs. In relationships any one principle may be broken and then forgiveness will be needed. For example if one becomes untrustworthy he/she may need forgiveness. Without forgiveness in our relationships people will sin and bitter grudges will be held against them.

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