Stealing by Carol Ann Duffy was written in the 1980's after Duffy had seen her neighbours snowman stolen from their front garden. Getting inspired by this, she had written this poem reflecting on the problems that occured in that moment, hence it was the time in Britain where unemployment was high due to Margaret Thatcher's (the Prime Minister during the 1980's) government policies.
The poem starts with a rhetorical question, "The most unusual thing I ever stole?" This question seems like it's been repeated to oneself after hearing the same question which shows the imperfection of the start of the poem. This uncertainty reflects the one Duffy had lived in those times where there was a lot of social unrest poll tax riots, the miner's strike and race riots. Right after the question comes the answer, "A snowman" which makes the reader little shocked because It is worth nothing. However this evinces that the economic conditions in that era was so bad that even stealing worthless things meant an achievement. The thief is so lonely that he wants a snowman as a mate which builds a compassion between the reader until the use of negative connotations in the next line. "With a mind as cold as the slice of ice within my own brain." suggests that this thief is psychologically disturbed and lacks compassion from the comparison of him and an inanimate object. This is due to life's difficulties and the adversities of unemployment. Throughout the first stanza, the sentences are short and full of caesuras. This depicts the thiefs state of mind where the pauses show the confusion and chaos in her mind which doesn't let her be able to think properly.
The second stanza contains a lot of violence with the words, "dead, frozen stiff, fierce chill, piercing my gut," which can mirror the tough times in the 1980's when violence was very common and habitual. The thief seems sadistic when he dismantles the snowman as it makes him happy in imagining the children cry...
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