A Critical Analysis of Stealing by Carol Ann Duffy

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A Critical Analysis of Stealing by Carol Ann Duffy

The first thing I noticed about Stealing was the question on the first line, this immediately tells us that he/she is talking to someone (or is perhaps being interviewed), however, because the poem is a monologue, we never know who. Neither are we told the gender or age of the thief, which I think all adds to the air of mystery the poem has.


The thief doesn’t give a particular reason for stealing but gives ambiguous comments which I have interpreted in a few different ways. Firstly the thief tells us of several things he/she has stolen, the strangest of which is a snowman. Many of these, we are told by the thief are ‘things which I don’t need,’ which is why we can question what exactly the thief is trying to steal and why. After all what exactly is the thief trying to achieve by stealing a snowman? We are told that ‘part of the thrill was knowing that children would cry in the morning’, so perhaps metaphorically the thief sees the snowman as someone’s happiness and is in fact trying to steal someone else’s happiness for himself.

I think this is very possible as the thief makes it clear that he/she is unhappy with life by making remarks such as ‘life’s tough’ and ‘sick of the world’.  He/she also tries to reassemble the snowman in his/her yard, to me it seems the thief is doing this to try and make it (the snowman/ the happiness) his own and is angered when someone else’s snowman/happiness can mean nothing to him/her.  Maybe because he/she finds life so ‘tough’ he/she may just want to take it out on someone and make them suffer like he/she is.

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Another reason for stealing the snowman could be simply because the thief wanted him. The thief tells us that you’re ‘better of dead than giving in, not taking what you want’ which is very selfish and cold hearted. The reason I think the thief wants the snowman is because he can almost relate to it –‘a mate with a mind as cold as the slice of ice within my own brain’. - I think this quote tells us that the thief knows he is cold (as you’d have to be to steal). The phrase ‘slice of ice’ seems very ...

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