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Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

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David Guo

on 7 June 2015

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Transcript of Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy



by Carol Ann Duffy

"Not a" is often attached as a negative connotation; the poet juxtaposes the title through
simile/ metaphor
internal rhyme
Red roses and hearts are usually associated with conventional forms of love.
Plot: The farmer's wife Ann of seven years is left alone during a snowstorm by her husband, John, who promised to return later that day. She begins to go about her routine trying to remain calm. Ann then attempts to preserve the monotony as she begins to paint the bedroom door, knowing that it will not dry due to the cold weather. Her husband and her mutual friend, Steven, comes through the storm to eat dinner and play cards. She begins to compare Steven to her husband and convinces herself of her husband's flaws and Steven's positive attributes. Ann then justifies sleeping with Steven by pretending he is her husband. Ann wakes up next to Steven in the morning regretting her decision with her husband still missing. Later that day, Ann's husband is found frozen to death in the snowstorm with paint on his hand.
Features of "The Painted Door"
Connections between
"Valentine" and "The Painted Door"

Compare and Contrast
between Poem and Prose

Contributions to Meaning
for "The Painted Door"

Depictions of Imagery
Annotations for "Valentine"
Effectiveness of Communication
Purpose of Poetic Devices
The onion acts as an extended metaphor and symbol throughout the poem
Throughout the poem, Duffy utilizes numerous poetic devices such as imagery and symbolism to illustrate her disapproval of the mainstream, conventional formats of love such as hearts and roses. She believes that onions are far more superior in conveying emotions of love, and she does this by highlighting the main ideas of the poem as she isolates certain words on a single line. An example of word isolation can be seen in the line saying "Lethal."(21) which shifts the direction of the poem to a darker tone.
Onions, unlike roses and hearts, are associated with repelling people and being unromantic; furthermore, it is a strange occurrence to give a loved one an onion.
Transition line.
The word "truthful" indicates that being honest is crucial in a relationship and it may be inferred that the poet is struggling to keep the relationship alive.
Another pair of disapproved and cliched forms of objects that represent love.
"fierce kiss"alludes that the existing is powerful and dangerous, and it also points out the strong smell that the onion sends out.
These are two qualities of true lovers--- taking responsibility and being honest to the other one .
"we" represents the speaker and her lover, drawing reader`s attention to their own relationship which is lasting and inseparable.
This stanza conveys a more aggressive and dominant tone; the language becomes explicit and less ambiguous.
This is a one-word statement and it emphasizes that the commitment in love can sometimes be dangerous and wounding to both lovers'.
The "scent" of the onion is a symbol for left-over emotions and memories. It "cling(s) to your finger" even when the relationship has ended, which alludes to the idea that love is eternal.
"Take it" is a powerful command.
The ending is ambiguous: it implies potential danger and threat to the relationshop. The "knife" may be a physical and deadly weapon for the lovers, or a psychological tool that cuts the bond between them.
The "platinum loops" come from the onion, which demonstrates the versatility of onions in expressions of love.
The image of an ongoing marriage proposal demonstrates that the relationship has matured and has now become a serious matter.
The unwrapping of the onion gives a way to show the tenderness inside "love".
The narrator uses metaphor to generate a connection between her love and the moon. The moon usually implies sexuality and mood, for it creates the tides and waves in oceans in the same way that love stimulates fluctuating emotion in lovers' hearts.
The line conveys a sense of direct ordering more than an offering.
Cutting onions can cause the eyes to tear up, but the "tears" also imply that relationships brings sorrow and sadness to people and make them cry.
"wobbling" refers to love as something unstable and volatile
The extended metaphor between onions and love
plays a key role in this poem as the poet uses repetition on this line to highlight it.
This stanza also suggest that love, by "blind(ing) you with tears", can also be blindness to external factors outside of the relationship.
The manipulation of imagery is a highlight throughout the poem. The narrator depicts assorted images that convey the nature of love. Certain images such as moonlight and kissing suggest that people can attain joyful ecstasy from love. Along with the depiction of "tears", the use of imagery also illustrates that love can also cause pain .
"It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light"
"It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief. "
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife."
"I am trying to be truthful."
The main characters in both pieces of literature are female, which presents readers their own interpretation of love. In the poem, "Valentine", the narrator uses metaphor and imagery to highlight that love is unstable and can be double-edged. Duffy concludes that love can not only deliver happiness but also do damage to people just as the ending of the poem shows.
The author's frequent use of repetitions for lines such as "I give you an onion" serve to emphasize the importance of this extended metaphor: although roses and hearts may satisfy the superficial features of love, onions are more versatile in defining love.
Furthermore, the poet also frequently uses metaphors and similes to communicate her ideas in an artistic manner. Instead of directly stating the mood changes that occur in a lover's mind during a relationship, Duffy veils her real implication under a metaphor: the moon. The moon and the Earth have an analogous relationship comparable to the relationship between lovers. Additionally, the moon, like a lover to our planet, has certain notable impacts on Earth such as distribution of moonlight and gravitational pull on the oceans of Earth that create tides. These tides are be associated with the volatility of a relationship and how the mood can sway due to love.
Consonance of the sound "ss",which sounds cacophonous amidst the words of love in the poem, also begins to appear near the second-half of the poem, which can be interpreted as the problems that arise when a relationship has been maintained for a long period.
The use of symbolism throughout these two pieces of work is another characteristic that catches readers' eyes. Undoubtedly, the major symbol used in the poem is the onion. It conveys an idea that people can attain both happiness and grief from love and that's the nature of it. The title "painted door" acts as a symbol that embodies the lack of communication between two lovers, revealing that having barriers in love can lead to difficulties, misunderstandings and isolation even for the most devoted individuals.
Similarly, in the short story, "The Painted Door",by Sinclair Ross, a woman named Ann who is struggling with her loneliness and unhappiness is vividly depicted using descriptive language. The immense amount of love that she dedicates to her husband, John, is returned in a way that disturbs and irritates her. Thus, this leads her to having an affair with her husband's friend, Steven. When John dies in the storm, love is converted into guilt: "She had not let herself understand or acknowledge it as guilt before"(page 11). Ann's love becomes a an object of guilt that hurts herself, demonstrating that love sometimes does bring us pain.
Figurative/Literary Devices
Theme: Communication and honesty are an integral part of a relationship; if one is not faithful and responsive to their lover, the relationship will not last very long and will emotionally scar both lovers.
Characters: Ann, John, Steven
Setting: rural farmlands during winter season in the 19th century
The narrator displays all the images directly in front of the readers via use of descriptive words, giving a powerful and convincing impression of what love can do to people. Therefore, the use of imagery enriches readers' scope of the apprehension of love from a different perspective and delivers a message that the essence of love is volatile.
Because "The Painted Door" involves topics such as isolation, betrayal and regret, the author uses a suspenseful and serious tone. Furthermore, the desolate mood and cold atmosphere of the short story conveys to the reader that a frigid relationship exists between John and Ann. Although it is stated that they love each other very much, conflicts exist that are not communicated across about between the two characters. There was a huge lack of communication, mostly due to Ann as "she, understanding, kept her silence."(page 3). Her silence adds to the meaning of the short story as she never speaks up for herself or attempts to share her thoughts with her husband; this bleakness of communication can also be adapted to the author's method of communicating the short story, which is somewhat ambiguous . Rather, the author gives clues as to what actually occurred. For example, John's death is not confirmed as a result of Ann's actions even if "a little smear of paint"(page 12) was on John's hand, he may have just dirtied his hands while working at his father's place.
Prose (short story) by Sinclair Ross
Quote: "Since November now the paint had been waiting warm weather.
The frost in the walls on a day like this would crack and peel as it dried" page 2-3
The theme of the short story has a major impact on the meaning. Because Ann was unable to clearly communicate her discomforts and issues of her relationship with John, she has to live unhappily while John is oblivious to all these problems. These issues, while specific to Ann and John's relationship, also have great importance in general relationships. Lovers who are truly committed to each other should not only be faithful to each other but also share their emotions with each other in order to maintain a stable, long-lasting relationship.
Point of view: "Valentine"---first person narrative
"The Painted Door"---third person omniscient
Although both pieces of literature share similarities, we believe that the poem "Valentine" is more effective in communicating the message of love. Unlike the short story, "The Painted Door", the poem discusses the unconventional form of love. Although depicting love as an onion may seem absurd at first, there are many analogies that can be drawn between the two. Because many similarities between onions and love exist, the poem is able to cover more forms of love than the short story, and thus, the poem is more engaging than the short story.
Attitudes:Both the poem and the prose sends out a message that love is double-edged. The ways each author uses to approach that idea are fairly different. In the poem, the narrator compares the sweetness that love gives to the pain caused by a broken bond, explicitly determining that love has two sides. The reference, on the other hand, is composed to focus on the oblivious details that convey the underlying message. Also, throughout lines the writer also originates a sense of sympathy towards the character, Ann,even after she betrays her beloved one.
Plot:The plot flow is a major difference between the poem and the short story. The poet creates various images to elaborate two sides of love. It can be told when a change of tone occurs at the transition line. There is no sign that the poem presents readers a love story. The prose, however, displays its climax when Ann sees a figure "That was like John"(page 10),revealing that her infidelity has been witnessed by her husband.Overall the story follows along its plot triangle, giving readers a clear sense to trace each character.
"is a moon wrapped in brown paper"
"promises light"
"will blind you with tears"
"will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief"
is "lethal"
"will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife"
"will stay on your lips"
or a
satin heart.

I give you
It is a

wrapped in brown paper
promises light
like the careful
undressing of love.

It will

blind you with tears
like a lover
It will
make your
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am
o be

or a

I give you

fierce ki

stay on your lips
ive and faithful
we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
platinum loops shrink
to a wedd
if you like.

scent will


to your fingers,

to your knife.
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