Compare and contrast ‘My Box’ and ‘Valentine’. Explore the poets’ feelings about love. To conclude, say which you prefer and why.

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English Coursework

Task:- Compare and contrast ‘My Box’ and ‘Valentine’. Explore the poets’ feelings about love. To conclude, say which you prefer and why.

     My Box’ and ‘Valentine’ are both written by two female poets, Gillian Clarke and Carol Ann Duffy, respectively. They are both contemporary poems about love. Clarke has an idealistic perception of love while Duffy writes more metaphorically about and onion. She uses single isolated lines and words; there is no regular rhythm or rhyme scheme. ‘My Box’ does have a regular 8,6,8,6 rhythm and a rhyme scheme. Duffy portrays her strong feelings against the commercialism of Valentines Day in her poem; Clarke mentions nothing about it.

     Both of these poems contain effective imagery. Duffy uses an onion as an extended metaphor; she writes ‘It is a moon wrapped in brown paper’. As the moon is associated with mystery it may be referring to a mysterious relationship or a mysterious lover. Another example of effective imagery in this poem is ‘It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief’ which could mean, that because onions make your eyes water every thing will be distorted. Metaphorically this means that the future of a relationship is never clear, you never know what is just around the corner. All of these images near the beginning of the poem are positive but they get more and more negative throughout the poem until ‘Its scent will cling to your fingers, cling to your knife’. The writing becomes commanding and more authoritative. The last three lines are painful images ‘Lethal. Its scent will cling to you fingers, cling to your knife’. It is interesting how the last word in the poem is knife, which in this context would be associated with murder and the relationship ending abruptly. Duffy may be issuing a warning to the reader.

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     The images in ‘My Box’ are also very effective. The very first line ‘My Box is made of golden oak’ signifies that the box is strong and sturdy and is very special to the person who has received it. Clarke says in her poem that ‘He made it out of winter nights’ which makes us assume that it was made secretly in a cold shed in the garden for a birthday or surprise anniversary present of some kind. Another line that suggests that it is an anniversary present is the fact that it says ‘In my box are ...

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