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AS and A Level: Carol Ann Duffy
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Depictions of Love
- 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 Duffy does not assign a direct gender to her lover. How might this inform your response to the poetry?
- 3 Look for binary oppositions throughout the collection: the modern versus the traditional, feminine language versus masculine language, sacred versus profane.
- 4 Consider the significance of using 2nd person or the ‘vocative’, addressing a lover in their absence.
- 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 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 Avoid proceeding through poems chronologically, which leads to repetition and suggests that you haven’t constructed an argument.
- 3 Similarly, describing the ‘events’ of the poem avoids addressing the question.
- 4 Use terminology to describe particular techniques such as enjambement, caesura, internal rhyme, etc. This shows your knowledge of poetic devices.
- 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 When planning, brainstorm your response according to the wording of the question and try to address it directly throughout.
- 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 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 Embed quotations frequently, to show your knowledge of the text.
- 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
Duffy's message in the 'Worlds Wife,' seems to be that ultimately the 'World's Wife,' wants a divorce. How far do I agree with this assessment of the anthology?4 star(s)
Throughout the anthology divorce, or women wanting to be separated from men, and the inadequacy of men in the eyes of their women, are the foremost themes. 'Mrs Aesop' is a poem where Duffy is mirroring the tedious and repetitive aspects of 'Mr Aesop' in the structure of her writing. For example we get an idea that 'Mr Aesop,' is a very slow laborious speaker, by the way Duffy structures her sentences. '... worthless in a bush. tedious. Going out was the worst.
- Word count: 1422
a wish he only makes but not something he would act upon. 'He fuck(s her) again' further shows this is not the first time Delilah has been 'fucked' suggesting a repetitive nature of this act. Furthermore, Delilah allows herself to be 'fucked' - through Delilah's submission, Duffy could be making a statement that women can not break free from this subordinate role in sex. Samson's language is also sexually suggestive, possibly implying that a man can not have his libido driven out of him regardless of the situation.
- Word count: 1386