before you were mine - carol ann duffy

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  • Before you were mine
    • what is the poem about
      • it is about a daughter looking at a photograph of her mother when she was younger, the daughter appears possessive about her mother and appears jealous about the tome when she was not there
    • who is the persona
      • the persona is the daughter of the person in the photo this is evident in the fact by the use of the personal pronouns "i'm ten years away from the corner you laugh on
      • the persona may also be Scottish because of the colloquial language used and the hint of her dialect
    • THEMES
      • memories - the fact that the persona is looking as a photograph of her mother implies that she is recalling her mothers memories and showing jealousy of the fact that her mother wasn't thinking about her at this point
      • the past- the use of the past tense and the persona looking into her mothers past means that the poem fits within this theme
      • relationships - although a lot of the other poems are looking at the relationships between two lovers, this poem shows the relationship between a mother ans a daughter, and how the daughter becomes jealous of her mother's past.
    • language
      • Use of tag questions = Throughout the poem tag questioning is used – “The decade ahead of my loud, possessive yell was the best one, eh?” The use of the colloquial language and the tag question creates an accusing tone which presents the persona as passive aggressive and angry at her mother for enjoying herself and having fun before the persona was born.
      • Field specific lexis = “That glamorous love lasts where you sparkle and waltz and laugh before you were mine.” The sydentic listing creates a field specific lexis of fun. The use of the field specific lexis and the use of the conjunction “and” makes the persona sound harsh and on edge, reinforcing her jealousy towards her mother.


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