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"Stealing" by Carol Ann Duffy and "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning, will be compared and contrasted on the ways that the poets reveal their narrator's personalities

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Introduction

How do Duffy and Browning reveal the characters of their narrators? The two poems, "Stealing" by Carol Ann Duffy and "Porphyria's Lover" by Robert Browning, will be compared and contrasted on the ways that the poets reveal their narrator's personalities and how they express their feelings towards their surroundings and lives. In the poem "Stealing", the narrator, an outcast to society, decides to steal a snowman because he is in need of a friend. The narrator appears disturbed and behaves in an anti-social manner. In "Porphyria's lover", the narrator awaits for his lover, Porphyria, who returns from a social gathering. Porphyria is married and is having an affair with the narrator. Then the narrator strangles her. The fact that they are both outcasts to society provides a useful starting point for comparison. There are numerous differences and similarities between the narrators such as, the way how both narrators are isolated from society and, at different points in the poems; they become cut-off from human contact. However, the narrator in "Stealing" has to create a "mate" (the snowman) because he is unable to communicate with other humans: "I wanted him, a mate" The use of colloquial slang, "mate", emphasises how he addresses the reader, and it is sad because it shows that the narrator is lonely and is desperately in need of a friend, so desperate that he has to resort to lifeless objects. ...read more.

Middle

...And thus we sit together now, And all night long we have not stirr'd And yet God has not said a word!" The Narrator is overjoyed at his actions and in a way is self-interested that he got what he wanted and shows no regret for killing a person. Both Narrators are outcasts because they commit unusual actions for unusual reasons but the Narrator of "Pophyria's Lover" seems to take his actions to a higher extremity than the other narrator; and yet they both do it for loneliness. There is a difference in the use of rhyme and forms of narration in the poems, and this emphasizes the way that you are meant to read them and listen to the narrator speaking. The Narrator's lack of a rhyme scheme in the poem "Stealing" makes the poem sound more spoken: "The most unusual thing I ever stole? A snowman. Midnight. He looked magnificent; a tall white mute Beneath the winter moon. I wanted him, a mate" Also the way he addresses the reader with the question: "The most unusual thing I ever stole?" which makes you feel as if he were facing you and talking to you directly. His use of colloquial slang in "mate" which we have already discussed also helps this theory, and his continuous use of enjambment makes you think he has to pause every so often a think about what he has to say. ...read more.

Conclusion

"mate" that he is forcing himself to believe that the snowman is actually a real person even though he subconsciously knows that it is only a snowman because earlier in the poem he refers to his actions as "unusual". Both Narrators see their "victims" as opposites to what they actually are, which supports the fact that they are both disturbed but only for the reason of being lonely, or it may be for the reason that he is obsessed, power-mad and insanely possessive. The poem that I enjoyed reading most was "Porphyria's lover". This is because although "Stealing" was a lot easier to relate to, as the language was less complicated to understand and his personality and actions were less extreme, I found that "Porphyria's lover" had a much more dramatic story to it. The poem expressed the depths of emotion more forcefully by the use of a less simplistic language. The Narrator in "Porphyria's lover" inspired more interest in me than the Narrator in "Stealing", maybe this was because he seemed much more disturbed, which opened a new deranged system of perception which I have never experienced before or maybe simply because it was a lot more challenging to analyse and discover the reasons for his murderous actions. However I thoroughly enjoyed comparing both of them as each poem was interesting in their own right and explored the complex and darker side of the human mind. Nathan Howard 4T ?? ?? ?? ?? 08/05/2007 English GCSE Coursework Nathan Howard 4T ...read more.

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