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Duffys Poem, Valentine, is a thought provoking and interesting poem, in which an onion is used in the form of an extended metaphor to symbolise true love,

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Introduction

Carol Ann Duffy: Valentine Duffy's Poem, Valentine, is a thought provoking and interesting poem, in which an onion is used in the form of an extended metaphor to symbolise true love, in an unconventional, non-romantic way. The reader is subjected to a different approach to love, whereby, he is made to understand the parallelism between a mundane cooking ingredient and a Valentine's Day gift. The title, valentine, has jovial connotations associated with it, but judging from the word choice, viewpoint (voice) and pace of the poem, the reader is led to believe that Duffy assumes that an object of obscurity, such as an onion can also have happy connotations. "I give you an onion. Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips, possessive and faithful as we are, for as long as we are." Duffy has also used words which make the message ambiguous as the reader does not really know how serious Duffy is about an onion being a Valentine's Day gift or whether she uses an onion as a object of effective comparison or she is frustrated with the idea of love and relationships. The whole expression of thought does help her in successfully achieving a gloomy and sedate mood and help the reader to interpret her work better. ...read more.

Middle

Through these words the reader in the poem (the lover) is forced to accept the honesty in her love and appreciate it, however the reader is foxed by this unconventional gift. 'It will blind you with tears like a lover.' is a simile which suggests that a lover, like an onion can make a person cry. It is known that people tear while cutting onions, which Duffy uses in her poem to compare it to a lover. The reader through this example realises the striking resemblance between an onion and a lover. it becomes clearer and more apparent that Duffy is serious that an Onion should be considered as a gift. She conveys that stereotypical gifts are strictly commercial and do not give a true account of what love is actually about. She then goes on to tell of her gift of an onion. She says" it promises light like the careful undressing of love." possibly to further state its importance and suggest that love, like an onion, has layers and there may be underlying depths. Mid way through the poem she describes how the onion "will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief". This illustrates how Duffy believes that love overwhelms and becomes part of us. It is seen in our reflection. ...read more.

Conclusion

The use of 'Here' and 'Lethal' as one word sentences suggests that these words are of prime importance. The reader is made to understand that Duffy means to present an onion seriously after reading 'here'. 'Lethal' is used to describe the onion's scent. The long sentence 'Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring, if you like.' has many connotations to it suggesting that an onion has many layers, just like a love, and once the inner most layer has been discovered, and passionate love is found in a soul mate, people get married. The other lines are fairly short, about 4-5 words per line showing that her ideas are concise and well thought of. This affects the pace, the reader reads the poem slowly, as though grasping each word, and Duffy uses this to create a serious mood. She also uses two enjambments to allow some freedom of thought is replicating the free loving nature of true and unconditional love. In conclusion, Duffy has effectively conveyed an important message to the readers through simple but thought provoking writing and she sustained the reader's interest by creating a serious atmosphere and allowed the reader to infer for himself the implications of an onion as a Valentines Day gift and its effectiveness as one. Clearly she expressed her views against stereotypical gifts and their commercial nature, by showing her readers how simple love can be. ...read more.

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