Ideas/ theme - poetry tends to deal with difficult subject matters and is often written in the first person in the form of a dramatic monologue, usually aimed directly at the reader as is the case with Valentine. 

Language - Duffy uses the concept of an onion as a way of exploring complex ideas about love.

                  - Firstly, the onion becomes a metaphor for the “moon‟ and here it brings connotations of romantic light and feminine energy. In this instance, it will light them both to a better understanding of each other and their love.

                  - This initial dreamy metaphor is followed by much harsher imagery, now, instead of being a source of illumination, it “will blind you with tears‟, suddenly, it is the agent of pain and misunderstanding, and a warning that love brings “grief‟.

                  - Later the onion is used to emulate the physical side of love, its “fierce kiss‟ symbolizes passion.

                  - In the final stanza, the onion is reworked yet again, this time to form the “platinum loops‟ of a wedding ring, which for many is the most potent symbol of a committed relationship within our culture.

                  - Duffy extends the onion metaphor throughout the poem to show that love is made of many layers, just like an onion, and that the components of love include: romance, pain, physical sensations and cultural customs.

                  - Throughout the poem, there is a lexis of pain with words such as “tears‟, “grief‟ and “Lethal‟. This vocabulary reminds the reader that suffering is an intrinsic part of being in love.



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