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

Carol Ann Duffys collection of poems "The Worlds Wife". How does the female dominate over the patriarchy in poems such as Circe, Mrs Beast and Thetis?

Extracts from this document...


End of Term Assessment: The World's Wife by Carol Ann Duffy Name: Valerie Ng Suying (21) Class: P1 Subject: Literature SL Date of submission: 3rd May 2011 Question: How does the female dominate over the patriarchy in poems such as Circe, Mrs Beast and Thetis? Carol Ann Duffy's collection of poems in The World's Wife is a "series of vignettes on famous men throughout history [and from various myths], told from the female perspective." (rte.ie) Themes such as sexuality, fidelity, domesticity, power relations, personal ambitions and love are explored, often surrounding the broader topic of feminism and female dominance. In poems such as Circe, Mrs Beast and Thetis, Duffy explores these concepts through language, imagery employed, and the reconstruction of gender roles and transformations of female figures. Female dominance is shown through the usage of authoritative language by female figures. Majority of poems in The World's Wife "maintains a binary structure where the objects of female poetic discourse are men." ...read more.


Female dominance is also illustrated through the reassertion of gender attributes and roles, as well as the transformations of the female figures. In Thetis, the speaker continually changes her shape in order to escape the powerful and violent male figure. Each time, Thetis evolves into more powerful and dominant creatures, from a small bird: "size of a bird in the hand/ of a man", to an albatross, a snake, a lion: "roar, claw, 50 lb paw", a mermaid and other sea creatures, and finally to animals such as "raccoon, skunk, stoat, /...rat" that are well-known for their will-power and strength to survive despite overwhelming adversity. This power of metamorphosis that Thetis possesses, takes on the form of a masculine image, displaying female transcendence and her ability to adapt in a male-dominating sphere. In Mrs Beast, Duffy demonstrates a male-female role reversal, describing the female in a controlling hand and masculine activity - 'Poker', and depicting them to be that of a commanding figure who challenges patriarchy and adopts a dominating role in the relationship, rather than being a "Little Mermaid" who undergoes a painful transformation for the male. ...read more.


In Thetis, despite the female figure constantly trying to take on a stronger image at each transformation, she is still conquered by the male figure - "Size 8. Snake", which describes her being put into an image that is determined by men. Often, aggressive images disrupting the female in finding her identity are displayed. For example, "I felt my wings/ clipped by the squint of a crossbow's eye." Also, the pronoun 'his' is constantly placed before each phrase - "his hook, his line...his sinker" emphasizing the presence and control of the male persona. Similarly, Mrs Beast has a form of desire for the beastly male character in the poem. In conclusion, female dominance is portrayed through the use of demeaning language and imagery, as well as the reconstruction of gender roles and characteristics. Though the female tries to take on a more masculine figure, she is unable to fully exercise control over the patriarchal. Nevertheless, the suppressed women dares to long for the prospects above the limited horizons. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. How victims of globalisation have been presented in poems, novels and films.

    Globalisation has superseded national boundaries, influencing one's interpretations of their lives to a degree in which they are forced to respond through conforming to standards, revolting or suffering as victims unable to find an identity or community to belong to.

  2. Neruda has crafted surreal poems from the Residence on Earth collection through his use ...

    For instance, ��yellowing pigeon��, ��sulphur-colored birds��, ��pale dead women��, ��wine-dark River��. The intense colours tend to draw attention to the everyday objects that he has associated them with forcing the reader to pay more attention and reassess the object itself.

  1. I will be examining two poems, The History Teacher by Billy Collins and The ...

    But, we keep on, and will keep on, trying to protect them from the harsh realities of, among other things, the inevitability of climate change and overzealous religion and nuclear war. After the History Teacher has finished with the day, he doesn't question whether the children actually learn the moral or the objective of his lessons.

  2. Shooting Stars by Carol Ann Duffy Commentary

    She still believes in God, and knows that He is there. This shows the power and strength of the woman's faith, and even the faith of other Jews. That even though they were persecuted for their faith, they still stand by it and believe it whole heartedly.

  1. Carol Ann Duffy attacks men in The Worlds Wife

    for his strength which was attributed to his long mane of hair and his lover Delilah who, when offered payment by his enemies, cut off Samson's hair while he slept, severing the source of his power. In this poem: Samson asks Delilah to ?teach him how to care? and as

  2. Mr Aesop Written Task - (Idea for poem adapted from Duffys original poem Mrs ...

    ?No more lectures!? cried she, on just one of my lovely overtures about life. Lectures? Young lady, you should be pleased to hear such stories and learn, learn important lessons from me. She accused me of taking her womanhood from her; what a incompetent woman she is.

  1. Commentary on the poem " Wife Hits Moose".

    ?? [driving] one of those roads that cut straight north.?? There is contrast between the slow, calm movements of the wife. The pace quickens even more during the third stanza, as there is a description of the actual collision between the moose and the wife.

  2. Are Duffy's poems comical or serious?

    ?I thought to myself, is he putting fairy lights on the tree?? This is a funny image which is portrayed through a very humorous tone. Likewise, the entire tone of this poem is conversational and is very talkative to the reader.

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