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‘a Red, Red, Rose’ by Robert Burns, and ‘valentine’ by Carol Ann Duffy

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‘A Red, Red, Rose’ by Robert Burns, and ‘Valentine’ by Carol Ann Duffy

'A Red, Red, Rose' by Robert Burns, and 'Valentine' by Carol Ann Duffy differ greatly, though the theme of love remains constant throughout. The poems were written in different centuries, 'A Red, Red, Rose' was written in the eighteenth century while 'Valentine' was written in the twenty-first. This could be an important factor in the great contrast between the two. It could be seen to be a good demonstration of how people's attitudes towards love have changed through the centuries. Burns' love is reflected as very stereotypical, 'fairytale love until the last verse. The opening line; "O my luve's like a red, red, rose" contains a very stereotypical metaphor for love; the "red, red, rose". Burns has written this poem in a very structured manner, the stanzas each have four lines and there is a very tight rhyme scheme; the second and fourth line of each verse rhyme, and this pattern is never broken. This makes the poem very rhythmic. Burns' poem does convey very strong, definite romantic images, and with these the depth of his feeling is also conveyed. A good example of this is the, "red, red, rose" the alliteration gives the metaphor strength and adds to the rhythm of the poem.

These atypical feelings of love are clearly reflected in the first line when the poet tells the reader, her love is - 'Not a red rose or a satin heart', which normal symbols of love. She says in line one of the second stanza, 'I give you an onion.' The color red which is associated to love and love is passion and the revelation of intense feelings. The rose if perfectly formed and smells sweet, this could refer to her lover. Again, an atypical and original connotation with love but a sign of how individual her feeling of love is. Onions have layers; this could be tied in with the way in which the poet feels love, showing it is not on a superficial basis but goes much deeper than the surface. She emphasises the idea of layers again in the next line 'a moon wrapped in brown paper', the brown paper could be seen as referring to the poet's skin in which the onion is contained, telling the reader, yet again, that her love goes much deeper than the surface. The 'onion' is used on numerous occasions throughout the poem and the poem could be read replacing the word 'onion' with the word 'love' and as well as making sense the poem would mean almost exactly the same thing. Duffy's third stanza starts

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