Monday, October 3, 2011

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy a summmary

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Subject matter


The title tells you that the poem is a Valentine - a gift of love - but straight away, the poem makes it clear that it is not a normal type of Valentine Not a red rose or a satin heart.


She gives her lover an onion as a sign of her love and the promised light that they could share.


She explains why the gift is so apt, using original romantic images.


Custom Essays on Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy a summmary




She adds a note of caution - too much commitment could kill off their relationship (love can be lethal).


Language


If you look closely at the way language is used in the poem, you might notice


The poet uses an extended metaphor she writes about her relationship as if it was an onion. Look at these ideas It will blind you with tears. (Relationships may cause people to be hurt.) Its platinum hoops shrink to a wedding ring. (An onion is platinum-coloured and is made up of rings.) Read the poem carefully and make a list of all the other aspects of an onion she highlights which can be compared to a love affair. Compare your thoughts to the ideas suggested in the Test Bite.


Otherwise, her language and vocabulary is very simple - perhaps to suggest that she wants a simple, uncomplicated love.


She makes statements. I give you an onion.It will blind you with tears...I am trying to be truthful. Look at these and other statements. They make the poet sound definite and authoritative.


Sound


There is no rhyme in the poem, and most of the poem sounds as if the lines are natural and spontaneous, being written down by the poet as they come to her. However, some of the sounds are carefully arranged. Consider these


Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips. An onion has a fierce, tangy taste, just as a passionate lover has a fierce kiss. The s sounds may suggest a sinister mood, or may even sound like a couple kissing.


Why do you think that the poet repeats I give you an onion? Is it to reinforce, perhaps, that this is not a joke? That she really is giving the person an onion, and really means it!


Form


The poem does not have a regular form. The lines and stanzas are of irregular length. This could be for a number of reasons


It suggests that love cannot be ordered and regular.


It suggests that her thoughts are going directly onto the paper, unshaped, giving a kind of urgency.


Traditional love poems are often very regular and may even rhyme her decision not to conform to this stereotype is further proof that her love goes beyond the ordinary and so is that much more special.


Some words have a line to themselves. Look at them carefully and decide why these words need so much emphasis.





Ideas and attitudes


Read the poem again carefully and see if you can judge the attitude the poet has towards


Typical Valentines gifts (and the people who send them)


Her lover


Marriage/commitment


You need to decide whether the poet is


Suggesting typical Valentines gifts are insubstantial and untruthful.


Telling us that her love is not ordinary love. Maybe she feels that her love is special, which is why she honours her Valentine with such an original, unusual gift. She does not want to be one of the crowd, because her lover is not just one of the crowd to her.


Wary of marriage and commitment, which is why she uses such violent images at the end of the poem.


You may decide that all these feelings are present in the poem. Which do you think is the most important?








Ideas and attitudes


Read the poem again carefully and see if you can judge the attitude the poet has towards


Typical Valentines gifts (and the people who send them)


Her lover


Marriage/commitment


You need to decide whether the poet is


Suggesting typical Valentines gifts are insubstantial and untruthful.


Telling us that her love is not ordinary love. Maybe she feels that her love is special, which is why she honours her Valentine with such an original, unusual gift. She does not want to be one of the crowd, because her lover is not just one of the crowd to her.


Wary of marriage and commitment, which is why she uses such violent images at the end of the poem.


You may decide that all these feelings are present in the poem. Which do you think is the most important?





Tone


To decide on the tone, you need to think about the ideas and attitudes in the poem, and then decide how you would read it aloud.


Is this poem


sad and negative, warning her lover from getting too close?


realistic, but encouraging and warm?


Decide for yourself. You may even find some humour in the poem.





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