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Havisham. -By Carol Ann Duffy.
Transcript of Havisham. -By Carol Ann Duffy.
to me? Puce curses that are sounds not words.
Some nights better, the lost body over me,
my fluent tongue in its mouth in its ear
then down till I suddenly bite awake. Love's
hate behind a white veil; a red balloon bursting
in my face. Bang. I stabbed at a wedding-cake.
Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon.
Don't think it's only the heart that b-b-b-breaks.
Beloved sweetheart bastard. Not a day since then
I haven't wished him dead, Prayed for it
so hard I've dark green pebbles for eyes,
ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with.
Spinster. I stink and remember. Whole days
in bed cawing Nooooo at the wall; the dress
yellowing, trembling if I open the wardrobe;
the slewed mirror, full-length, her, myself, who did this
1. Rhetorical Question.
"Who did this / to me?"
Ms.Havisham is shocked at looking in the slewed mirror that is full-length, she can't believe what she's looking at. This is the first tim she's managed to stop and look at herself properly in a while one would imagine.
2. Exploring Sexual Connotations
In line 10, Ms. Havisham says “Some nights better, the lost body over me,” this is clearly a sexual connotation with Ms. Havisham feeling erotic by his thoughts, she calls him a body rather than him over me and that is the feeling she has for him. Lines 11 and 12 are clearly sexual connotations as Ms. Havisham describes what she does to the body with my fluent tongue in its mouth in its ear then down till I suddenly bite awake. These lines describe the thoughts Ms. Havisham has at some nights however also shows how she has depersonalized the fiancé and just uses his body. She bites awake however that is very ambiguous and it could have several different connotations. Carol Ann Duffy uses another enjambment at the end of line 12 as she ends the stanza with “Love’s” which prompts the reader to read the last stanza.
1. Name calling; sign of insanity.
"Spinster. I stink and remember."
Havisham calls herself a spinster as she sees herself as an old lonely woman, and believes the world sees her the exact same way. She also points out that she stinks as a result of wearing the same dress for years. As well as this she has the ability to remember and recall every fine detail from her wedding day.
"Beloved Sweetheart Bastard"
Oxymorons are used to show conflicting ideas and feelings; and with the use of this oxymoron it is clear that Carol Ann Duffy wants to show that Ms.Havisham has conflicting feelings about the man whom is both a sweetheart and a bastard.
"Whole days in bed cawing Nooooo at the wall"
Ms.Havisham compares herself to a lowly animal like a crow or a bird [hence the quotation]. Cawing is the harsh cry of the crow. Meaning Ms.Havisham calls Nooooo at the wall as she feels no-one is listening to her.
"I've dark green pebbles for eyes".
Green represents the colour of jealousy, greed and in some cases, ill-health. Conjointly, 'pebbles' are small hard and battered rocks. These two factors combined demonstrate to the reader that after being left at the altar, Ms.Havisham has become jealous and stiff.
In line 13, “Love’s hate behind a white veil” is a paradox used by Carol Ann Duffy. There are two ways to read this either as love is hate behind a white veil which would mean they are the same thing or Love’s hate behind a white veil which would mean that the hate that belongs to love is behind a white veil and it is not clear which one is used in the poem.
In line 15, Ms. Havisham says “Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon”, this is particularly disgusting as she wants to spend time with a corpse and there are several meanings to this however it is not clear by her tone what she intends to do with the corpse. It could refer to stanza three with her erotic plans or it could be to gross out the reader.
2. Erotic Dream.
In line 2, Ms Havisham tells the reader that she not only has she wished that the man died but she has prayed for it to happen so hard, this shows how she is scornful of the man and she believes that the best punishment is death.
3. Deadly Wishes.
(* And Ryan :L *)