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

AS and A Level: Carol Ann Duffy

Browse by

Currently browsing by:

Meet our team of inspirational teachers

find out about the team

Get help from 80+ teachers and hundreds of thousands of student written documents

Depictions of Love

  1. 1 Duffy’s collection Rapture traces the progression of a love affair from beginning to end. It is worth considering the meanings and effects invested in our knowledge that the affair (also autobiographical) has ended.
  2. 2 Duffy does not assign a direct gender to her lover. How might this inform your response to the poetry?
  3. 3 Look for binary oppositions throughout the collection: the modern versus the traditional, feminine language versus masculine language, sacred versus profane.
  4. 4 Consider the significance of using 2nd person or the ‘vocative’, addressing a lover in their absence.
  5. 5 Consider the importance of using past tense and present tense: what does each provide? How is the reader positioned when reading each poem?

Writing about Duffy's poetry

  1. 1 Although the Rapture collection is autobiographical, do not confuse Duffy with the ‘persona’, ‘poetic voice’ or ‘narrator’ of the poem. The narrator is a much a construct as any other character.
  2. 2 Avoid proceeding through poems chronologically, which leads to repetition and suggests that you haven’t constructed an argument.
  3. 3 Similarly, describing the ‘events’ of the poem avoids addressing the question.
  4. 4 Use terminology to describe particular techniques such as enjambement, caesura, internal rhyme, etc. This shows your knowledge of poetic devices.
  5. 5 Be sure, once you have identified a technique, to develop the significance of its use in terms of the meanings generated and the effects produced.

Essay work on Duffy's poetry

  1. 1 When planning, brainstorm your response according to the wording of the question and try to address it directly throughout.
  2. 2 Aim for a balanced response which demonstrates that poetry can be read in different ways: there is never one, reductive ‘translation’ but usually a variety of meanings and interpretations.
  3. 3 Responses should be paragraphed by using topic sentences at the beginning of each. These function to address an aspect of the title and delineate what the paragraph will cover e.g. Duffy addresses the theme of love in a variety of ways throughout the collection.
  4. 4 Embed quotations frequently, to show your knowledge of the text.
  5. 5 Similarly, when considering a single poem, you can briefly cross refer to other poems in the collection in order to reinforce the connections between them and generate a stronger sense of its position.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 5
  • Peer Reviewed essays 2
  1. "Duffy expresses her social criticism by giving voices to characters who reveal their lives as being without purpose."

    By using characters' voices rather than her own, Duffy identifies with the speaker and confers authority onto a voice which might otherwise be silent. In the poems I have looked at she uses the characters that are portrayed as having lives without purpose but in reality their lives are without purpose the status society has given them. 'Psychopath', 'Recognition', and 'Stealing' are three of the poems I will be analysing to look at the way Carol Ann Duffy presents her point of view on society.

    • Word count: 2396
  2. "In Mrs. Tilscher's Class" by Carol Ann Duffy deals with one central theme. The theme of growing up is the main idea within the poem and is repeatedly imprinted throughout the poet's childhood

    The poet can also bring to mind the teacher's blackboard, as she informs the reader of how "the chalky Pyramids rubbed into dust." In a literal sense the chalky lines on the board became chalk dust. The poet imagines this to be great pyramids and monuments being eroded inevitably by time. The bell signifying the end of playtime is remembered as: "The laugh of a bell, swung by a running child." This auditory image incorporates the personification of the bell, to compare its sound to an incessant laugh of a child.

    • Word count: 2352
  3. Comparing and discussing two poems written by two different people in two different times on the subject of time and change.

    A theme is something that you can find throughout a poem, play, book etc. It lets the reader/audience know what it is about and lets you understand the meaning of the piece more clearly. The themes of the two poems look at the concept of the changes between being youthful to growing old and discuss how time passes quickly in your life. They both convey nature as other elements of themes. Both poems express the poets views on life and it youth should be spent/enjoyed and their opinions on time and change. As well as similarities, both poems have strong comparisons.

    • Word count: 2003
  4. Discuss the development of the twins in The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. How does

    It is also important to understand that the 'fraternal twins' have an 'emotional connection to one another that is stronger than that of most siblings' (Manorama Mathai). Therefore when Estha is sent away Rahel feels as though she is losing a part of herself and they both find it incredibly hard to maintain their fun-loving personalities and sense of security that they once felt. Just after Estha has been sent away, following Velutha's death, Rahel explains the hate that she feels towards her mother.

    • Word count: 2986
  5. "Comprehensive" By Carol Ann Duffy - review

    refers to her family. This suggests that the she feels isolated and cannot adjust to her environment. This also applies to the speaker's sister, because the change in her language causes confusion between the siblings. The speaker seems to feels that everything has changed and wants life to be as it was-"then we were happy". The character Wayne is introduced in the second stanza. He comes across as quite an arrogant person and Carol Ann Duffy portrays him as a character who wants to be superior to others, e.g.-"games are for kids". He has learned to be opinionated maybe through the influence of others.

    • Word count: 2262
  6. Distortions of Reality

    This rationale is further justified through his numerous references to man-nymphet sexual relationships throughout history. He has done thorough research on the topic because of his utter fascination with girl-children. This fascination has also led him to pursue the detailed study of the pubescent stages of female development. Humbert describes the feelings that his obsessive lust evokes. He says that his random infrequent interactions with girls on the metro or in the park created "a revelation of axillary russet...[that] remained in my blood for weeks" (20). Whenever nymphets are near him he feels euphoric and becomes enraptured in his fantasies.

    • Word count: 2760
  7. 'The World's Wife revises fairytale, history and myth and reworks it into contemporary, feminist fables.' With reference to three of the poems in the volume examine the techniques employed by Duffy in writing contemporary feminist fables.

    She explores the notion of the self in relation to the other, particularly in the poem, "Mrs Midas". The poet is able to present a wide range of emotions through the practical persona that feels a sense of exasperation due to her husband's selfishness. The sensual qualities of the persona are highlighted through the use of soft sounds, 'breath...brow', and 'my fingers wiped the other's glass'. She is then depicted as multitalented, especially in comparison to her husband who 'was standing under the pear-tree snapping a twig'.

    • Word count: 2214
  8. "Bruce Ismay's Soliloquy" by Derek Mahon and "Shore Woman" by Seamus Heaney are both alike in their experiences. Each poem relates a frightening experience at sea however although they contain many similarities, they each contain numerous differences.

    The language used in "Bruce Ismay's Soliloquy" is such that mixed feelings are felt towards him. "Bruce Ismay's Soliloquy" opens with the line- "They said I got away in a boat" -The use of "They" is an indication that he is aware of the wrongness of his actions, as "They" is a vague pronoun used to represent the people who are accusing him of cowardice. This initial line makes the speaker look like a coward through the resentful tone used.

    • Word count: 2877

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • From your reading of 'The Fenland Chronicle' discuss the farmers view of what life is like for girls in service. Consider the way the story is told, what is revealed about the narrator and the daily routines of a maid.

    "In conclusion, I believe that this is a useful piece of historical evidence in looking at the life of a girl in service. It also examines class consciousness by attacking the farmers and their lifestyle and values. It also explains the poor conditions that girls were subjected to, as well as shedding some light on the identity of the author them self."

  • Carol Ann Duffy explores the theme of childhood. Discuss in reference to at least two poems.

    "In conclusion Carol Ann Duffy explores the theme of childhood through the memories of the characters and sometimes through the child presented in the poem. The main idea of the poems is that childhood represents innocence and it is the experiences of life the takes away the innocence that children hold. The loss of innocece seems to be an inevitable part of growing up and the problem would occur if we kept our innocence throughout our adulthood. Also through her poems she shows that the experiences that we receive during our cildhood affect us in our later life. Alex fish"

  • Compare and contrast the poems 'Brendon Gallacher' and 'Yellow' in terms of language, ideas and imagery.

    "Jackie Kay's experiences as a child were not particularly pleasant when the relatives visited. In the poem 'Yellow', Aunt Peggy visits. She seems quite a strict character. Her speech is written in italics, alike the father's speech. This gives a better idea of how loud Aunt Peggy may be talking to Jackie Kay. Aunt Peggy 'shoves' Jackie Kay's head into the yellow egg yolk. This shows that Aunt Peggy may be quite nasty and violent, giving the reason why Jackie Kay might dislike her. Jackie Kay finds comfort by personifying the food. The 'passionate beetroot balls', rolling across the plate conveys an image of close, intimate relationship. The colour of the beetroot balls, red, is also related to love and affection. Jackie Kay did not appear to get any of this in the poem. Throughout both poems, Jackie Kay cleverly revealed her childhood and her family relationship with the other members of her adoptive family through the language of each poem. Everything seems to be linked to family relationship in some way, in particular the relationship between a mother and daughter. Both poems are full of imagination from Jackie Kay as child with the poems containing both negative and positive times in her life. Ryan McDonnell 10CTJ 10a1"

Marked by a teacher

This document has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the document.

Peer reviewed

This document has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the document page.

Peer reviewed

This document has been reviewed by one of our specialist student document reviewing squad. Read the full review under the document preview on this page.