Carol Ann Duffy Explores Different Types Of

Relationships In ?Valentine? And ?Before You Were Mine? Essay, Research Paper The title of the poem ?Valentine? written by Carol Ann Duffy is very misleading. One would expect to read romantic love,

Relationships In ?Valentine? And ?Before You Were Mine? Essay, Research Paper

The title of the poem ?Valentine? written

by Carol Ann Duffy is very misleading. One would expect to read romantic love,

instead she writes about cynical love. She has obviously been hurt in previous

relationships. The poem starts off with a positive

statement-?Not a red rose, or a satin heart?. She states that she will not give

her lover a conventional valentine present. The harsh consonants give a feeling

of harshness. The poet has chosen to give her lover an

onion. She uses the onion to symbolize love. Like a person we never really know

what a person is really intending. She uses a metaphor to convey this idea. ?I

give you an onion, it is moon wrapped in brown paper,?-With this creates an air

of mystery is created. ?It promises light, like the careful undressing of

love.?- A feeling of sensuality is created with the use of the repetition of

the ?l? sound. The use of the word ?Here? makes the

reader feel that the poet is in control. She continues with the extended

metaphor ?it will blind you with tears? Not only will the onion make your eyes

water, the pain caused by a loved one has the same effect. The use of a simile

contributes to this viewpoint ? like a lover, love distorts one?s vision. It

will mislead the reader into believing something that isn?t true. The pain can

make one feel bitter and disillusioned. The white space gives time for the

reader to reflect upon the section of the poem that they have just read. She

explains that she does not wish to be unkind. She is being realistic. ?I?m

trying to be truthful.?- alliteration, the repetition of the ?t? sound gives it

the feeling of sincerity. ?Not a cute card or a kiss-o-gram?- she does not

approve of commercial tokens of love. ?I give you an onion?- She uses a

metaphor. ?It?s fierce kiss will stay on you lip? the bitter taste on an onion

remains on a person?s lips. The memory of a kiss can stay with one forever.

?Possessive and faithful as we are, for as long as we are? She suggests that

love affairs only last for the time that two people are interested in each

other. She insists that he accepts her gift ?Take it?. She denigrates marriage.

She compares the loops of an onion to a wedding ring and implies that marriage

can deaden love and passion. Marriage is lethal in her opinion. In the extended

metaphor she expresses her sentiments, sometimes people never recover from a

broken romance. They will continue to experience heartache, pain, bitterness.

?Its scent will cling to your fingertips, cling to your knife.? The repetition

of the word ?cling? is effective. The word ?knife? conveys the image of a

wound. The poet has obviously been hurt in previous relationships. On the contrast, another poem, ?Before you

were mine?, also written by Carol Ann Duffy is about mutual love between mother

and daughter. There are several different romances in this poem. The poet

considers her mother at three different times. In the first stanza she imagines

her mother as a teenager, ten years before I was born. ?I?m 10 years away from

the corner that you laugh on with your pals?. She imagines her mother?s life,

she is young, carefree and without responsibility. She enjoys the company of

her friends, they shriek with laughter. ?The three of you bend waist hold each

other on you knees and shriek at the pavement? She imagines her mother in a

polka-dot dress of the time. In her mind an image appears of the late

sex-goddess Marilyn Munroe in a scene from the film ?Some like it hot?. ?A

polka-dot dress blows round your legs, Marilyn? Once again Carol Ann Duffy uses

enjambment to give an empress ion she is trying to recreate the past in her

imagination. Caesura is used to introduce the girls? names. The names Maggie

McGeeney and Jean Duff suggest they are ordinary working-class, fun loving

girls. The poet continues to think about her

mothers? carefree days. ?I?m not here yet? Her mother is unaware of the future

that lies ahead. ?The thought of you does not occur?. The mother enjoys herself

at ?dances in the ballroom with the thousand eyes, the fizzy movie tomorrows.?

She still has dreams and hopes for the future, she dreams of the glamour seen

on the big screen. Caesura is used to show her thought process. At dances they

hoped that they might meet their future partner. ?I knew you would dance like

that? She looks back at the days when her mum was free and uninhibited. She

admires her mother. She then introduces the title of the poem

?Before you were mine?. The reader is then able to sense a strong bond between

mother and child. The possessive pronoun ?Mine? enforces the idea of a close

mother-daughter relationship. She can imagine her mother ?ma? waiting to

reprehend her for being late. Knowing her mother has spirit she will think that

the punishment was nothing compared to the fun she had just had. ?You reckon

it?s worth it?. Carol Ann Duffy realizes that her birth changed her mother?s

life dramatically; she had to be responsible and look after a child. In the third stanza that the ten years

before she was born were probably the best years of her mothers life. ?The

decade ahead of my loud possessive yell was the best one, eh?? She uses a

rhetorical question. She does not really want her mother to confirm that

statement. In her imagination she sees her mother

clattering in high heeled shoes ?I remember my hand in those high heeled red

shoes relics and now your ghost clatters towards me over George Square?- the

image is vivid she uses an effective metaphor to show this as/like ?a scent?. She indicates once more that her mother

was a free spirit ?and those small bites on your neck, sweet heart??- Another

rhetorical question. She remembers as a child dancing to the

?cha cha cha on the way home from mass?- She wanted to express her self. Her mother has not realized her full

potential; she married young and has the responsibility of motherhood. The poet

yearns to be the young girl from the past ?even then? Portobello? the glam

image will never fade. She uses alliteration to show that her mothers?

qualities are time less. ?The glamorous? You were mine.? The two poems are very different to each

other. As I mentioned before, ?Before you were mine? was based on a mutual

relationship between mother and child whilst ?Valentine? Is about a love

relationship that has gone horribly wrong and has left one of the lovers stranded in an emotional state which can not be resolved. She will always have that

close bond with her mother. What ever happens they will always be there for

each other. However when you are dating other people you never know what their

true intentions are. You can never spend enough time with some one to get to

know their true personality that they are holding back. She idolizes and adores her mother, she

looks up to her and has done ever since she was a child, this is why she love

her. On the contrary she loves her lover because she wants to get to know that

person. She finds them interesting and different. ????????? In "Before you were

mine" there are several references to time and it is one of the main

topics. She refers to the past and compares it to what it is like in the

present. This suggests that the bond with her mother will be there for

eternity. Whereas in "Valentine" time isn’t such a big issue and is

barely touched upon throughout the poem. It is all written in present. She

doesn?t think about past relationships. This may suggest that she has been in

only one relationship with a man and will not go back to him or another man. The levels of time is "Before you were mine"

can be puzzling Unlike "Valentine", "Before you were mine"

explains how much the poet idolises and adores her mother. Both poems focus on the

subject of love although in "Before you were mine" this is the love

between a mother and daughter and is a lot more obvious than in

"Valentine" which is about the love in a relationship between two

lovers comparing love to an onion. "Valentine" is very cynical and "Before

you were mine" is caring, and through this poem she expresses her love for

her mother. Both poems are full of

imagery giving the reader visions of how it may have been like. As she

reminisces in ?Before you were mine? she thinks of her mother dancing her way

home from church ?cha cha cha?. This is a happy picture of a young woman

embracing life. How ever in ?valentine? Carol Ann Duffy uses imagery for

pictures of suffering and pain caused by heartbreak. The poet uses effective ways

and different techniques to portray her ideas and entertain in both poems such

as similes, "like a lover", used in "Valentine?. The repeated

?l? sound sounds almost as if the poet was teasing us, as if she know the

relationship will not work out. How ever "clear as scent", as used in

"Before you were mine", gives the feeling of sincerity. ? She also uses interesting

metaphors, "Like a moon wrapped in brown paper" this creates an air

of mystery around the subject. and alliteration, "trying to be

truthful" the repetition of the ?t? sound gives a feeling of sincerity and

honesty. Enjambment and caesura are used in ""Before you were

mine" as well as rhetorical questions, creating interest, "the decade

ahead of my loud possessive yell was the best one eh?" I enjoyed studying both

?Valentine? and ?Before you were mine?. But I preferred ?Valentine?. It

interests me how Carol Ann Duffy conceived the idea of comparing love to a

onion. I would like to ask her what inspired her in writing this poem, as it is

unusual and clever. There is a lot of truth in this poem but it is represented

in a very different way to what the reader would of expected from its name. ? ?