Poems by Carol Ann Duffy.

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Poems by Carol Ann Duffy

Many of Carol Ann Duffy’s poems are about people. Choose two poems, in which, particular people are described and explain how the structure and language of each poem makes the people interesting.

Carol Ann Duffy is a famous poet she has written many great poems such as ‘Valentine’ and ‘Stealing’. Both of the poems are about people and their feelings. In Valentine and Stealing Carol Ann Duffy has written them in a way, which the reader feels emotionally involved with the person in the poem. This is because the people and their feelings are expressed in a way, which they seem personal to the person who ‘s telling them.  She makes the people in the poems interesting, making the reader want to read on. The two poems Valentine and Stealing are about people and their lives but they are shown in different ways.

Stealing is about a man who tells us what he has stolen that’s unusual. The Stealer then gradually starts to tell a story about the time he stole a snowman. In the story he tells us his feelings in why he steals.

Valentine is a totally different poem to Stealing. Valentine is about a woman who gives her lover an onion for Valentines Day. The onion is symbolic, to describe there relationship and that they have problems as a couple. In Valentine Carol Ann Duffy describes the feelings of the woman to her lover.


When you think of Valentine you think of happiness love, sweet joy, anything that is good related with love. Giving the impression that the poem is going to be about loves happiness etc.

We are still given this impression even when the poem starts

     ‘Not a red rose or a satin heart’

 This tells us that someone has thought hard about the Valentine message she is going to give, rather than traditional presents. This person in the poem is making us wait before she tells us what she has bought her lover, making the reader curious about her.

The woman has then started to build the excitement of her lover by making him wait a bit longer.

‘I give you ‘ this starts to build the excitement even more. What is the mystery present?

Then the woman after a period of building up the excitement, finally in the end tells us ‘An Onion’. This makes us think. What! An onion! After all that build up. There is an anti climax because the onion is far from what is expected, making this lady very interesting.

She then goes on to tell her lover that the onion is symbolic for their love in many different ways.

     ‘It is a moon wrapped in brown paper it promises light’

This is a metaphor, the onion is white round and bright like the moon on a clear night and it promises us light like the moon behind a cloud, brown skin, once removed reveals the moon giving light. This makes the reader think. This is a bit weird. The reader is intrigued and becomes more inquisitive about the woman.

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    ‘Like the careful undressing of love’

 meaning love blossoms after the real love comes. Making the reader and her lover think she is happy in the relationship and she has found her soul mate, red love.

It seems odd that she loves her lover but gave him an onion, which is bitter, painful, unpleasant, and a vegetable that brings crying which is sadness.

She then changes her attitude ‘Here’ this is made out in a forceful way. Here take it now!

We get the feeling that the woman is being possessive in control of the situation. After this ...

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