Compare and contrast 'Originally' and 'Lanarkshire Girls' by Carol- Ann Duffy and Liz Lochhead

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Duffy and Lochhead both write about journeys.

Compare and contrast two poems, one by each poet, taking account of the methods (situation, form and structure, and language, including imagery and tones) which each poet uses to write about her mother.

The poems ‘Originally’ by Carol-Ann Duffy and ‘Lanarkshire Girls’ by Liz Lochhead both deal with the theme of journeys. The former poem is about a situation in which the speaker and her family moved cities. It describes the speaker’s uncertainty with regards to her identity. The second poem, ‘Lanarkshire Girls’ recalls the first time the speaker as a fourteen year old took the bus into the city of Glasgow with her friends.

For both the speakers, the journey and experience are new to them. They both share similar environments in which they travel, with the speaker in ‘Originally’ riding in a ‘red room’ and the speaker in ‘Lanarkshire Girls’ travelling in a ‘red bus’. In exploiting the colour red, the poets may be conveying a sense of anxiety that accompanies the speakers on their unfamiliar journeys.

However, any sense of anxiety felt by the speaker in ‘Lanarkshire Girls’ is short lived and replaced with excitement as with, ‘money burning a hole’ in the girls’ pockets, they began ‘dreaming’ themselves up. On the other hand, the anxiety felt by the speaker in ‘Originally’ doesn’t deteriorate but worsens and affects not only the speaker, but her entire family too, ‘My parents’ anxiety stirred like a loose tooth.’ This speaks to the permanency and consequences of each journey. For the speaker in Duffy’s poem, the consequences of the journey are large and the relocation is permanent as although she wants to return to her ‘own country’ desperately, she cannot. In contrast, the journey taken by the speaker in ‘Lanarkshire Girls’ is temporary and the consequences, little. Once the speaker has explored her destination of Glasgow city, she and her friends will return to their rural homes.

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‘Originally’ is arranged in three stanzas, each with eight lines, this ridged structure allows the reader to consider fully, the impact of the journey. In addition, each stanza takes a different viewpoint; therefore by taking a separate stanza for each one the reader can follow each perspective more easily. The first stanza describes the journey through the eyes of the speaker as a child, the second takes a generic view of childhood overall and considers it metaphorically, and the third is from the speaker’s perspective again, this time as an adult who is still struggling with her identity.

Similarly, ‘Lanarkshire ...

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