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Page 1

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Duffy, Armitage and Pre-1914 Poems

Theme: Hate, bitterness, violence, sympathy.

Structure: Enjambment shows unstable persona.

Language Technique Example
Oxymoron "Beloved Sweetheart Bastard."
Harsh Alliteration "Beloved Sweetheart Bastard."
Metaphor "dark green pebbles for eyes"
"ropes on the back of my hands I
could strangle with"
Rhetorical question "Who did this…

Page 2

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Before you were mine
Themes: Parent-child relationships, memories, love

Structure: Four structured stanzas.

Language Technique Example
Vibrant imagery "polka-dot dress", "high-heeled
red shoes"
Glamorous icon "Marilyn."
Pronouns "Before you were mine"
Exclamation marks "Cha cha cha!"
Joyous language "That glamorous love lasts where
you sparkle and waltz and laugh"


Page 3

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Mother, any distance
Themes: Parent-child relationships, love

Structure: reflects son's feelings of increasing freedom

Language Technique Example
Alliteration "single span"
Metaphor "leaving up the stairs, the line
feeding out, unreeling years
between us. Anchor. Kite."
Ellipse "the last one-hundredth of an
Definite rhyming at end "an endless sky to…

Page 4

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Metaphor "I'm not playing ball-boy any
Themes: Murder

Structure: Enjambment and free-flow emphasises his nonchalant
attitude towards murder and insane persona.

Language Technique Example
Song references "blowin' in the wind"
Violent language "I let him have it"
Enjambment "I dropped it into third and leant
Personification "he…

Page 5

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The Song of the Old Mother
Themes: Bitterness

Structure: Written in rhyming couplets

Language Technique Example
Repetition "scrub and back and sweep"
Imagery "the seed of the fire flicker and
Bitter tone "I must work because I am old,"
"And their day does over in

My Last Duchess…

Page 6

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"She thanked men, - good! but
Arrogant persona "thought a rarity, which Claus of
Innsbruck cast in bronze for

The Laboratory
Themes: Murder, jealousy, bitterness

Structure: twelve stanzas. Rhyming scheme highlights she doesn't
feel guilty as it's very controlled and clear.

Language Technique Example
Repetition "Which is the…

Page 7

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