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'Valentine' And 'stealing' - By Carol Ann Duffy

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'Valentine' and 'Stealing', By Carol-Ann Duffy


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' she 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.

'Valentine' and 'Stealing' both have tones that change throughout the poem.

For an example, 'Valentine' starts 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 symbolises 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



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