‘Duffy Is Entirely Hostile Towards Men in 'the World's Wife'.’ How Far Do You Agree with This View of the Way Duffy Presents Men in This Collection?

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Duffy's presentation of men in 'The World's wife' could be considered to be ‘entirely hostile’, as it is a factor which is present across many pieces in her collection of work. However, this view point can also be argued against with a critical assessment of both men and women's representation throughout the collection.

Of all the poems in the collection, I believe ‘Thetis’ to be the most supportive of this view, as it comes across as the poem filled with the most criticizes towards men. Throughout Thetis, it is clear that the speaker is changing forms from each stanza to the next; ‘I shrank myself..’, ‘So I shopped for a suitable shape.’, ‘Next I was roar..’. Through each individual form, there is something that stops them, captures them; ‘till I felt the squeeze of his fist.’ In my opinion, this reoccurrence throughout the poem is a metaphor for domestic violence. The woman is trying to be free and independent and each time she tries to escape, the man suppresses her. This is clearly supportive of the view’s perception of Duffy’s hostility to men, in the poems. The language Duffy uses in Thetis also supports the view. Her choice of wording when talking about the male side of the fight for freedom in the poem is very dark and violent. Using such phrases as; ‘I felt the squeeze of his fist.’, ‘grasp of his strangler’s clasp’, ‘sharpened his knives’. This could be interpreted as a criticism towards men, as they are generally much more violet than women. Another pattern that stands out to me, when thinking in this view, is the hissing sound that occurs in every stanza. ‘Sweet, sweet’, ‘stranger’s clasp’. That repeated sound, could be interpreted as men’s output in the poem being harsh, this would also support the suggested view.

A poem from The World’s Wife, which does not support the view that Duffy is entirely hostile towards men, is ‘Anne Hathaway’. In this poem, Duffy clearly puts across the love and affection men can give. The poem is based on William...
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