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Before you were mine - Carol Ann Duffy

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Before you were mine Carol Ann Duffy wrote a poem titled 'Before you were mine' I think it was written in about the 1950's as the language and comparisons suggests. This essay shows my view on the poem, and what I think it is about. It is set in Portobello in Scotland The child writes the poem about her mother. I think that it could be about a mother and child. It doesn't give any clues to the sex of the child, but when you first read it, you instinctively think of a girl. Some of the ideas that I thought the poem could be about are: - the mother could be near death, and the child is thinking back to her childhood memories. Another theory is that maybe the child is looking back at their mother's photo of when she was younger. This could explain the last verse. In the end, I decided that the photo theory was the most realistic. The first verse could be about the child looking at a photo of the mother and her friends 'Maggie McGenney, and Jean Duff'. It starts with the phrase 'I'm ten years away from the corner you laugh on with your pals,' This could mean that the photo was taken ten years before the child was born. ...read more.


'I remember my hands in those high heeled red shoes' This could be the child rooting through the mothers dancing clothes. The next two lines are very confusing. They mention ghosts and a place called George Square. The last word has a question mark after it, as if they are trying to talk to the mother. 'Whose small bites on your neck' this could be related to walk home that went on in verse two. The small bites on the neck could be from lovebites. The last verse sums up the life of the mother. 'Stamping stars from the wrong pavement'. This could be that she was a star, but only in the child's eye, and not anywhere else, therefore, she was a star, but walking on the streets of Portobello. 'Where you sparkle and waltz and laugh before you were mine' This could be the child questioning whether they made the mothers life worse as she stopped dancing. The line before that, maybe suggests that the child wanted to go back in time, and see their mother before they were born, as if to check if they did change the life at any point. 'Where you sparkle and waltz' this is referring to the mothers dancing. ...read more.


The second because it shows that the mother is a dancer, and enjoyed her life. It tells you that she was a bit of a rebel, as she came home late, and didn't care. The forth verse is effective because the child is maybe questioning their existence. It says that they wanted the mother back from the old days, when she was bold and glamorous. Basically, it is saying that the mother has changed from when the child was born. We can tell this because if she hadn't then the child wouldn't want the mother back from the old days. The child is probably looking at just the one picture, but the thoughts from that picture, bring back a lot more. They start to lead to other thoughts; these are shown as the different verses. The whole poem seems very informal, as there are questions and the language suggests that they aren't very 'posh'. Words and phrases that suggest this to me are: - 'eh?' 'Your ma stands at the close with a hiding for a late one'. They probably came from a 'rough' area, and like many other families, were quite poor. In conclusion, I found this poem quite confusing, but nice to read. It took a while to find out the meaning, but I found it very interesting. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kimberley Sum 16th October 2001 ...read more.

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