Analysis of the 9 poems I'm covering from the world's wife

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Poetry analysis
Salome
1. The form of free verse may symbolise the fact that the speaker is
rebelling against social constraints placed on women. Therefore
Duffy creates a parallel between her freedom In her choice of
form and her speaker's freedom in being free of patriarchal
conformity
2. The syntax at the beginning of the poem alludes to the form of
free verse
3. Duffy's use of the rhetoric `what did it matter?' portrays Salome's
unnerving detachment and shows no emotional connection to the
man lying next to her.
4. Duffy uses masculine rhyme such as `Clatter/batter' throughout
the poem to challenge gender roles. This reinforces the
anti-patriarchal tone of this poem in particular but also the
collection as a whole.
5. Duffy juxtaposes the biblical names `Peter? Simon? Andrew?
John?' mentioned in the second stanza, with her speakers
promiscuity. Thus challenging the representation of women in
the Bible.
Demeter
1. In the form of a sonnet, which the reader would almost
instantaneously associate the poem with love, Demeter brings a
close to the World's Wife. Duffy uses the rhyming couplet
`soon/moon' to bring her collection of poetry to a confident close.
The moon being a metaphor for the birth of a daughter brings
about an air of pronounced finality that suggests that the world
wife as an entirety isn't so much about the shortcomings of men
but more so the strength and love that exists amongst women.
2. Duffy reclaims the stereotype of the only role for women being
that they should remain barefoot and pregnant. She redefines
this as being a symbol of
3. The metaphor `She came from a long, long way,' portrays the
increasing strength of women throughout the collection. The
alliteration `long, long way' further emphasizes the length of the
journey undergone. The sense of journey in this poem is further
expressed by Duffy's choice to adopt a cyclical structure, with the
poem effectively transitioning through the seasons
4. The use of bleak adjectives `stone room' `hard earth' reflects her
feeling of melancholy and despair. This is emotive and adheres to
the theme of the poem.

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The sibilance in `spring's flowers...mother's house' is used by
Duffy to evoke an idyllic and pleasant atmosphere; it conjures
images of spring and summer.
6. Use of maternal language `my girl' `daughter' further highlights
that this is a poem about maternal love and when coupled with
the poems sonnet form. It's evident that Duffy has chosen to
explore a modern variant on the sonnet rather than what might
be expected.
7.…read more

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The natural ethereal imagery related to Thetis; `wind' `air' is
juxtaposed with Duffy portrayal of the man as destructive and
domineering force, `squeeze of his fist'
5. Thetis is initially subservient to the man `I shrunk myself' and
then `shouldered the cross of an albatross' it is only later in the
play when she `sank through the floor of the earth' that she
appears to become powerful and this moment can almost be seen
as a moment of re-birth, particularly with its connotations to
baptism.…read more

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Throughout the poem Duffy uses common clichés and adjectives
to illustrate animal imagery; `I slid from between his heavy
matted paws' This portrays the male as domineering, possessive
and the use of the adjective `heavy' also suggest that the male's
authoritative. (Similar to how queen Herod is splayed beneath
Herod, suggestive of women's roles in heterosexual
relationships)
4. The use of colloquialisms- `sweet sixteen'- helps to create the
impression of natural speech, which adds a sense of realism to the
poem.
5.…read more

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Duffy appropriately uses the sonnet form considering the
connection between Shakespeare and this form of poetry.
2. Duffy juxtaposes their romantic world of `forests, castles' against
the dull world where their guests are `dribbling prose' This
presents their marriage as magical
3. Duffy's tone is especially celebratory of the sexual relationship
between Anne Hathaway and Shakespeare-`The bed we loved in
was a spinning world'- metaphorically suggests excitement and
chaos which contrasts with Duffy's portrayal of heterosexual
relationships throughout the collection.
4.…read more

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In addition the description of men as
`drunken' is a negative and often cliché portrayal.
6. Duffy relates women to peaceful imagery such as `sleeping girls'
and `lullabies'
7. The metaphor `we have daggers for eyes' explicitly portrays the
hardships of motherhood. With the collective pronoun `we'
creating a sense of shared experience only shared between
mothers'
8.…read more

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