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Delilah by Carol Ann Duffy

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Susana Sanchez

on 28 November 2012

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Transcript of Delilah by Carol Ann Duffy

Susan Wambui and Susana Sanchez Delilah by Carol Ann Duffy Delilah
Stanza 1 & 2 Teach me, he said -
we were lying in bed -
how to care.
I nibbled the purse of his ear.
What do you mean? Tell me more.
He sat up and reached for his beer

I can rip out the roar
from the throat of a tiger,
or gargle with fire
or sleep one whole night in the Minotaur's lair,
or flay the bellowing fur
froma bear,
all for a dare.
There's nothing I fear.
Put your hand here - he guided my fingers over the scar
over his heart,
a four-medal wound from the war -
but I cannot be gentle, or loving, or tender.
I have to be strong.
What is the cure?

He fucked me again
until he was sore,
then we both took a shower.
Then he lay with his head on my lap
for a darkening hour;
his voice, for a change, a soft burr
I could just about hear.
And, yes, I was sure
that he wanted to change,
my warrior. Stanza 3 & 4 I was there

So when I felt his soften and sleep,
when he started, as usual, to snore,
I let him slip and slide and sprawl, handsome and huge,
on the floor.
And before I fetched and sharpened my scissors -
snipping first at the black and biblical air -
I fastened the chain to the door.

That's the how and the why and the where.

Then with deliberate, passionate hands
I cut every lock of his hair. Stanza 5-8 What is it about? Delilah' by Carol Ann Duffy has an undeniably sexual element running throughout - an element which is highlighted by its suggestive language and presentation of gender roles between the characters 'Samson' and 'Delilah'. It forms part of the poem collection 'The World's Wife'. Greed "Teach me how to care" Delilah cuts Samson’s hair because he wants to learn “how to care”. So, according to the bible story, Samson was made weak by Delilah having cut off his hair. It could then be argued that by the loss of his hair, Delilah has shown Samson how to care by making him weak. http://onceaponanothertime.tumblr.com/post/19188759471 Equality and Gender As for feminine “traits” and equality, the man, Samson, asks the woman, Delilah, “how to care”. Being “caring” is typically seen as a feminine trait, so therefore by “[teaching Samson] how to care” is making him display more feminine traits… which lead to his ensuing weakness. Samson's language is also sexually suggestive, possibly implying that a man can not have his libido driven out of him regardless of the situation. For example, in the second stanza Samson is boasting about his achievements which demonstrate his strength and fearlessness, however he is distracted by a sexually suggestive note, telling Delilah to 'put your hand here -'. Samson's Language It can be said that her poetry is mainly concerned with the politics of sex. However, Carol Ann Duffy states in an interview in 2005 that 'Delilah' is not about sex but is a love poem exploring the nature of Samson's wish to become 'gentle', 'loving' and 'tender'. This would therefore suggest that the main concern of the poem is more to do with love, power and gender.


http://www.markedbyteachers.com/as-and-a-level/english/carol-ann-duffy-s-poetry-is-mainly-concerned-with-the-politics-of-sex.html Carol Ann Duffy
What does she write about? There are several references to sex throughout the poem, however the most direct reference comes in the fourth stanza where Samson 'fucks' Delilah. This is in stark contrast to his request in the third stanza only three lines above of wanting to learn how to 'care', or 'be gentle or loving or tender''. Despite wanting to become gentle, Samson 'fucks' Delilah rather than 'makes love' to her Samson fucks Delilah • Duffy makes wide use of the hyphen at the end of lines.• There is a striking absence of metrical regularity even in lines whichrhyme.
• As in previous poems, each stanza deals either with a different mood or a different phase of the story. The two one-line stanzas present their ideas starkly; and both, on examination, leave us with ambiguities.
Delilah's response is accompanied by a gesture of foreplay as if therequest embarrasses or confuses her and she wishes to redirect hisattention to sex.
Duffy uses alliteration in the opening line, making Samson's recitalalmost lyrical.
Duffy uses the irregular line length, pararhyme scheme and transferredepithet (‘bellowing fur from a bear’) to illustrate an anarchy, anunpredictability in his actions.
Duffy closes the stanza with two rhyming couplets. The lines shortendrastically and approach some degree of metrical regularity. Analysis
Stanzas 1 & 2 Samson's‘scar’ could be said to represent his only vulnerable spot, situatedappropriately enough over the seat of his frozen emotions, his ‘heart’.
Samson has to ‘guide’ Delilah's ‘fingers’, as if he is anxious that she toolearn something, either how magnificent he is or how fragile.
The fourth line, the longest in the poem, states Samson's predicamentbaldly, the clumsiness of the metre highlighting his inability to experiencethe emotions appropriate to the "new man".
Samson is presented in the last line as a man used to finding solutions,perhaps glib ones. The indicative tense here suggests that he is quitesure that the cure exists.
The word ‘fucked’ implies a sexual exchange, which is functional, devoidof meaning and - since the use of the word is taboo.
The inclusion of the ‘shower’ might indicate a number of ideas - forexample, that their sexual experience could be perceived as dirty or thatSamson insists on more sex even as they are washing themselves.
Delilah's protest ‘I was sure/that he wanted to change’ is a littleoverstated Stanzas 3 & 4 The three words can be seen as the answer to a question. The readersenses that Delilah may be the subject of an actual interrogation
I was there.’ is an expression popularly employed by witnesses to afamous event. The biblical account does not tell us what happened toDelilah after she betrayed her lover but she must have been present atsome dramatic scenes.
Delilah intimates that only in ‘sleep’, does Samson truly ‘soften’. Thetenderness of this line is reinforced by the homeliness of ‘snore’ in the next.
The third line, the second longest in the poem, not only parallelsSamson's actual sprawling but suggests that this is her favourite view ofhim. This impression is heightened by the use of alliteration: she soundsas though she is relishes this picture of him. ‘Handsome and huge’
Samson is now ‘on the floor’, symbolically and literally in her power, asense which is emphasised by the curt, short line.

•Delilah describes her next actions in chilling detail. First the scissors haveto be ‘fetched’, then, ominously, ‘sharpened’.

•The word ‘before’ adds suspense as we are encouraged to anticipatesome worse horror. Stanzas 5 & 6 Stanzas 7 & 8 As before, Delilah seems to be facing an interrogation. But as she tries tosum up her answer in this dismissive, all embracing sentence, the reader isleft to wonder what she is leaving out.
Delilah describes her actions as ‘deliberate, passionate’. These words tellus that she stands by her actions. It is a significant departure forsomeone of her status and gender to deprive a man of the veryattributes, which define his masculinity but she has done sowholeheartedly.

The last line underpins the deliberateness of her action with its directmonosyllables. The use of ‘lock’ here may provide an important insightinto the implications of the poem as a whole – while the word refersliterally to Samson’s hair, there is also the suggestion that the overtdisplay of Samson’s gender has figuratively “locked” away his emotions.
Delilah describes her actions as ‘deliberate, passionate’. These words tellus that she stands by her actions. It is a significant departure forsomeone of her status and gender to deprive a man of the veryattributes, which define his masculinity but she has done sowholeheartedly.

The last line underpins the deliberateness of her action with its directmonosyllables. The use of ‘lock’ here may provide an important insightinto the implications of the poem as a whole – while the word refersliterally to Samson’s hair, there is also the suggestion that the overtdisplay of Samson’s gender has figuratively “locked” away his emotions.
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