White Writing - Feminine Gospels


White Writing

third half of collection = modern women & the struggles women still face, Duffy believes the fight to equality is not yet accomplished. Theme of same-sex relationships. Women not having a voice. 

Has a change of society really occurred towards same-sex marriage/relationships? Do same-sex couples still have to hide their relationship? 


"White" =  1. Invisible, their love for each other must be hidden. 2. Purity, they see their love as equal to other relationships that are not of the same sex & refusing to let their relationships purity be damaged by society.  

"White Writing" = gives a sense of secrecy as some people have to/feel the need to hide their relationship. 


Irregular rhyme scheme = rhyme scheme is present but not regular, suggests their future is unstable 

Regular quatrains = suggests their love for each other is stable despite uncertainty.

Quatrains represent the foundation on what a relationship is built on, this is stable, yet the irregular rhyme scheme may represent society/the world they live in, which does not give the couple stability. 


Repitition of "white" = creates the illusion of how so much is not possible for them, there is nothing there for them to achieve/have because the opportunities are metaphorically invisible. 

Parallelism (repeated sentence) = "I write them white" changes to "I write it white" in the 5th stanza, could be misread for "right", suggests something isn't right with society or their relationship, but they pretend everything is fine. 

Metaphor = "your soul a flame" creates an image of being unable to stop their feelings, implying that they have stopped trying & accepted themselves. "flame" Passion? Love? Anger? 

Alliteration = "words on the wind" creates a soft sound, emphasises the idea that their relationship is secret. 


Traditional ideas of marriage become unorthodox, the couple still view themselves as married even if it is not legal/offical. Challenging the tradition of love & marriage, "No vows...our married years." The couple still combine what they own "my lips on yours," Idea of women being independent and breaking away from social norms. 


Paradoxical ending = saying "No poems written to praise you," within a peom is a paradox, suggesting that society is paradoxical, society may say they accept everyone but are they really proactive or just reactive? 


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