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The poem, Valentine, is a monologue by Carol Ann Duffy addressed to her lover.

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Introduction

Valentine analysis: The poem, ?Valentine?, is a monologue by Carol Ann Duffy addressed to her lover. It is part of the set ?Mean Time? published in 1993. It explores an unorthodox and frank side of love and compares it to the frivolities of Valentines day. The poem is written in free verse and has no rhyme scheme. This emulates a conversation and also represents the disorder and unpredictability of love. It is loosely structured into six stanzas, each focusing on a different aspect of love. Similar to the peeling of an onion, the first few stanzas focus on the more pleasant parts of love and become progressively abhorrent. Duffy makes certain lines emphatic by isolating them from stanzas. The sentence ?I am trying to be truthful? is an instance of this. Isolated from the second and third stanzas, this line is emphasized since it is one of the main purposes of the poem ? to give her lover a veracious description of their love. She also uses enjambment to continue some ideas and create suspense. For instance, the sentence in stanza two begins ?It will blind you with tears? and continues to the next line in the same sentence ?like a lover?. ...read more.

Middle

The words ?blind? and ?wobbling? suggests the uncertainty of their relationship. In stanza four she uses an epanalepsis by repeating the words at the end of the line, ?as we are?. This hints the possibility of either of them being unfaithful to the other. The epanalepsis changes the meaning of the sentence from the extent of the couple?s loyalty to the possibility of future unfaithfulness. In the fifth stanza, Duffy introduces the idea of marriage but portrays it as constraining a implied by the word ?shrinks?. The phrase ?Take it.? and its brief abruptness contrasts with the demure and servile phrase ?if you like?. This shows the versatility of love. The sixth stanza shows the danger and cruelty in love. The word ?Lethal.? is a one-word sentence and shows Duffy?s absolute certainty of the dark side of love. The word lethal has connotations of danger, death and fear, none of which are typically associated with love. This addresses the misconception that love is purely joy and happiness. The last line, ?cling to your knife? shows the enmity in love, especially the animosity that forms between a couple after marriage. ...read more.

Conclusion

She uses many imperatives which show her emphatic, forceful tone. In the beginning of the poem, she describes the positive aspects of love using words like ?light? and ?love? which hint her optimistic and blissful tone. This engenders a tone of contentment. As the poem progresses, the words she uses become harsher. The words ?blind? and ?wobbling? imply an unsteadiness or loss of happiness. This marks a slight pain in the tone. This evokes sympathy for Duffy and her lover. Duffy then uses the word ?shrinks? which implies entrapment. This could create a mood of panic at the thought of marriage. Finally, she uses deadly words like ?lethal? and ?knife?. This shows her vicious tone that creates a mood of fear and agitation from the reader. These are so completely incongruous with typical ideas of love The contrast between the beginning where love is ?light? and end where it is ?lethal? is particularly striking. This marked variety in the emotions love produces is the main purpose of the poem. Duffy hence accurately portrays the various dimensions of love through her adept use of structure, language and literary devices to surprise the reader with her unorthodox view of it. ...read more.

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