‘Valentine’ and ‘Stealing’, By Carol-Ann Duffy FOR IDEAS ONLY, DO NOT COPY In ‘Valentine’ and ‘Stealing’, Carol-Ann Duffy uses an extended metaphor which helps the reader relate to what the poet is trying to get across, and to understand what the feelings are of the narrator. Both poems also focus on the thoughts and emotions of the ‘speaker’, both are structured as conversational pieces, meaning you could just use it to talk to someone, and could imagine the reactions of the person they ” re talking to. Duffy also never reveals the sex or identity of either person. In ‘Valentine’s he uses an onion to explain love, going from the idea that it’s really romantic, to how it’s lethal. “It’s a moon wrapped in brown paper” for an example. Duffy was using a moon because it’s nearly always associated with romance in films and movies.
The “brown paper” is the skin of the onion, meaning that she’s being careful to mention all of the aspects of the onion, and the fact that it’s a gift, because, traditionally, you wrap gifts up. In ‘Stealing’, Duffy uses a snowman to describe the thief’s emotions, relating to how they are both cold inside.” A mate / with a mind as cold as the slice of ice / within my own brain.” The thief thinks that the snowman suits them, because the snowman reflects what he thinks about himself. It means that the thief feels numb an cold inside, that they can’t feel anything, or think they can’t as this is proven later on in the poem. Both the poems are conversations, though to different people. ‘Valentine’ is to the speaker’s other half, who is anonymous to the reader. The ‘Stealing’ guy seems to be talking to everyone he thinks will listen to him.
... is referring to how hard love can be. In ‘Valentine’, Duffy compares an onion to the moon. This gives the reader a sense ... downs that the relationship may have had. In ‘Valentine’ however, although the poem is in a neat line down the middle of ... of this, there is also certain negative connotations within the poem, the onion can ‘blind you with tears’, be ‘possessive’ and can ...
‘Valentine’ and ‘Stealing’ both have tones that change throughout the poem. For an example, ‘Valentine’s tarts out that love is happy, that it is great, and sounds like the first part of the poem should be read in a light romantic tone, but reveals more about the poets feelings as we learn about he relationship, and how it’s “possessive and faithful.”Possessive” is a word which makes the relationship sound like it traps Duffy, away from the world. Possessiveness is usually a bad thing in a relationship, as it means that either the man or the woman is too adamant about their other half talking or spending time with anyone else, when “faithful” is something most relationships long for, or make people happy with their lives because both in a are faithful. In ‘Stealing’ however, the poem starts with a harsh tone that states that the speaker has a cold heart.” Part of the thrill was knowing / that children would cry in the morning. Life’s tough.”Life’s tough” just symbolizes that the author doesn’t care for the world anymore, and why should they when it’s so harsh to them? The poet’s tone changes in ways some people may not get unless they read the poem a few times. It talks about how the thief likes to steal pointless things, or break into houses “just to have a look.” The tone moves on again to how alone and isolated the poet feels “standing / alone amongst lumps of snow.” He’s alone after he destroyed the snowman which the poets been comparing them to.” Again.
Again.” Kicking the snowman constantly is telling how the narrator wants to destroy himself too. This is also shown when they mention joyriding cars. Another contrast between the two poems could be found in the way they are written. Neither of the two ever reveal the sex or identity of these people. Both are said in the first person which means there are never any he’s or she’s involved which reveal anything about the poet, except for a few times in the poem when the snowman is called ‘he’ which states that either the speaker’s a girl who wants a male for a mate, or whether it’s a male who is even extending the metaphor so far as to say he and the snowman are the same gender.
... leaves as people. The tone of the poem changes as at the beginning when the poet is describing the relationship now it is quite ... the flowing, smooth, gliding rhythm of the poem. In the poem 'Dismissal'; the poet describes the relationship breakdown very much like a story. In ... Tale, by D. H. Lawrence In the poem 'An Anniversary'; the poet describes the relationship and it's breakdown as two leaves on ...
‘Valentine’s ou nds a bit like it’s a girl talking, but the emotions and feeling reach beyond that. Duffy writes both of these poems in such a way, that anyone can read them and understand, and anyone can relate to them and feel for the person in the poem, or grasp the concept of the poets mind and thoughts. The structure of both poems is totally different however, as ‘Stealing’ is set out so that all of the stanzas are the same length, whereas ‘Valentine’ is written as a ‘free verse’ poem, meaning that there is no particular rhythm, stanza structure or rhyming pattern. Both poems also have some structural contrasts, such as a tendency to use short sentences to emphasise a point. An example of this in ‘Valentine’ could be “Here.” or “Take it.” This says that whoever the person receiving the onion is, doesn’t want it, so the poet is sounding almost demanding, like “Here, take it and understand me! I said take it!” but in a much simpler, and slightly politer way. “Mirrors” in ‘Stealing is also a one worded sentence that says the poet is looking at him or herself in a mirror, and suddenly understanding how downhill they really are, asking themselves how it had come to this, being mute to the world, because no one ever paid attention to them, or talked to them.
All in all, I like both poems quite a lot, but prefer ‘Stealing’ because of the way it ends with a line which can be related to by most teenagers, including me, who have ever felt the way the thief does.” You don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you?”.