S-Cool Revision Summary
S-Cool Revision Summary
Duffy's poem is about how we deal with the suffering of others, who might be faraway. It takes the character of a war photographer to represent someone more involved and committed than we are.
Duffy appears to admire the photographer, and be critical of the rest of us.
The poem is powerfully anti-war. However, elsewhere Duffy does not spell out her feelings, she allows readers to make their own judgements.
The form however suggests she is pessimistic about things changing for the better.
Duffy uses the symbolic association of ordinary language. So that a simple word like 'dust' can carry lots of possible meaning.
She also includes some powerful imagery to shock us out of our complacency.
The use of a repetitive form suitably supports the ideas in the poem.
This is a wonderful, original, clever love poem. In it Duffy rejects cliched ideas of love and expresses how her love is:
Original, clever, intense, romantic, emotional, truthful, fierce, possessive, faithful, free and dutiful.
The tone of the poem is genuine, confident, seductive, intimate, and at the end pulls away to sound a note of warning and seems to admit some weakness.
Duffy manages to make the poem sound like a spoken voice, despite the fact that she uses structures it around an elaborate and imaginative extended metaphor. A difficult feat to pull off!
Duffy's subject is a young boy, or is it a girl? She/he has been let down by society in some way. Because they have nothing to do and no way of improving their self-respect they turn to petty mindless crime.
We will all have different attitudes to this character depending on our own viewpoints. A daily Mail reader for instance is unlikely to have much sympathy, whereas a Guardian reader might have too much, perhaps.
Duffy certainly, however, gives the character enough complexity to suggest she has some sympathy. His final, aggressive question, for instance, is meant to make us stop and think.
This is a Dramatic Monologue, and in it Duffy cleverly captures the rhythms of speech.
The language is plain, ordinary, 'unpoetic', and so suits the speaker.
The form of the poem is loosely regular (6, 5line stanzas), as if it is attempting to order itself. The fact that there is no change or development in form might suggest how this character is trapped in his world, with his fear, his loneliness and his delusions.
The vocabulary of the poem suits the fact that it is meant to be spoken: It is simple and straightforward.
However there is a lot of visual imagery, appropriate for a poem inspired by a photo.
The self-centredness of the child its impact of its mother's life is suggested by the poem starting with 'I' and ending with 'mine'.
The form of the poem doesn't change. Perhaps this is because that there is an inevitability to the loss of glamour and youth. It is a process we all go through and cannot change.
The tone of the poem is at times tender and warm
But there is also something slightly ominous. For instance in the repetitions of 'Before you were mine.'
Duffy seems to be able to see the relationships from both sides, aware of what the mother by having her child.
The reference to 'your ma' also suggests how these relationships are circular, passing from one generation to the next.
The poem appears to be one about Duffy's mother and how the poet would like to have known her when she was a glamorous young woman.
There seems to be some regret about how the baby changed its mother.
The possessive tone of the baby and its self-centredness also suggests the poem is about how children change and come to rule their parents' lives.
The poem celebrates childhood and a wonderful, imaginative, loving teacher. Everything in the first two stanzas is magical, warm, colourful and exciting. The first line gives the impression that they felt like they really were travelling up the Blue Nile. Even the books are 'Enthralling'!
The second half of the poem introduces more complex feelings, although mixed still with comedy and Mrs. Tilcher's warmth.
The final line suggests excitement, opportunity, fresh horizons, 'split open' and perhaps some emotional turmoil.
Afterall the summer holidays are about to start.
The tone of the poem is one of warmth, affection, and of love.
It communicates the headlong excitement of being young.
The final stanza introduces a slightly more troubled tone, but there is still the sense of wonder and enthusiasm for life.
Duffy brings the poem to life by using a lot of sensual imagery. We can see, hear, touch, taste, even smell, the world she describes.
There are lots of exact contemporary details, such as the milk, the gold star, and the pole for opening the window. These help to establish the time as well as the place.
Duffy uses figurative language, and these images all relate to the world and perspective of a child, whose idea of heaven is a 'sweet shop'.
Duffy subtly changes the form to suggest the changes for the child as she grows up.
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