"Valentine" by Carol Ann Duffy Essay

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13. Choose a poem which explores the pain of love or the pleasure of love or the power of love. Show how the poet’s exploration deepens your understanding of the pain or the pleasure or the power of love. "Valentine" is a poem written by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. The speaker explores the pain of love through word choice, tone, contrast and structure. In the poem the speaker presents their partner with the unconventional valentine gift of an onion. The speaker then goes on to use the onion as an unusual metaphor to describe love. Duffy challenges the clichéd valentines day version of love and presents the more real and raw version of love. It also presents the truth that love hurts and can be sinister and painful. Duffy uses contrast between the second and third stanzas to emphasize the pain caused by love. In the second stanza the onion is described as a "moon". The moon is located in the heavens, implying that love is heavenly and out of this world. However in the third stanza the speaker goes on to say that the onion will "blind you with tears". This suggests that the onion, a metaphor for love, will cause you pain and make you cry. Duffy uses this sharp contrast to produce more of an impact on the reader and emphasise the pain of love. The tone varies as the poem progresses. The first one lined stanza is a very negative start, "Not a red rose or a satin heart". This creates a very negative tone from the very first word, "Not" of the poem. In the fifth stanza there is a repetition of the second line of the poem, "I give you and onion". This repetition creates a frustrated tone, the speaker's partner has still not accepted the unusual gift. This represents the pain of love caused by rejection. The tone begins to become very uncertain when the commitment of marriage is mentioned, "if you like". The speaker is not sure that they both want the same
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