'Valentine' : Carol Ann Duffy

  • Created by: km04
  • Created on: 03-05-19 22:14

Analysis of 'Valentine'

'Not a red rose or a satin heart'

  • The poem is immediately challenging the conventional portayal of Valentine's Day (and therefore love)
  • This is a partial sentence (includes no verb)
    • Sounds more direct/blunt

'I give you an onion'

  • Pronouns are 'I' and 'you', which makes the poem more personal 
    • May suggest the poem is from one lover to another
  • This line is a conceit (a surprising statement), which is a technique used by metaphysical poets, like John Donne
  • The line surprises the reader, it is unorthodox and strange

'moon wrapped in brown paper'

  • The moon is a source of light and hope, it is beautiful and positive, but it is also unconstant
    • This image presents an ambivalent (contradictory) attitude to love

'promises light'

  • verb 'promises' implies it does not always provide the light it should
    • This may reflect on the preconceptions that love is happy

'careful ********** of love'

  • This appears quite a sexual image
  • ********* the conventions down to the truth
  • Connotations of vulnerability
    • Falling in love means opening yourself up, like peeling away layers (of an onion, of a person)

'it will blind you with tears like a lover'

  • The verb 'will' implies an inevitability of hurt and pain in a relationship
  • A reference to Cupid ('love is blind')
    • This means you can't see the flaws of the person you love
    • Duffy is suggesting that love is problematic

'it will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief'

  • The verb 'will' is repeated to enforce the idea of these negative emotions
  • When you cry, the face quivers, hence the word 'wobbling'
  • Photos capture a moment (often happy) so that the memories are eternal/last forever
    • Almost like trying to make a relationship last/make the memories permanent
  • This line is also ironic because photos are associated with happiness, while grief is quite the opposite (extreme sadness)

'I am trying to be truthful'

  • The verb 'trying' implies that the truth is hard to get at (due to conflicting emotions)

'Not a cute card or a kissogram.'

  • Another blunt, partial sentence
  • There is repetition of the plosive 'k' sound 
    • The sound is harsh, so it is clear Duffy intends to criticise these clichés that are deemed romantic
    • These sounds…


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