Compare the Methods Armitage and Duffy Use to Convey Their Ideas About

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  • Topic: Poetry, Stanza, Metaphor
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Compare the methods Armitage and Duffy use to convey their ideas about change in the poems you have read so far.

Both Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage use a range of methods in their exploration of the theme of change. Duffy's poems tend to be more personal although in her poems about change, such as 'Pluto' and 'The Captain of the 1964 Top of the Form Team' she writes in a male voice which then distances her from the speaker. Armitage writes more universal poems, few of which are written of personal experiences in the first person. Both write about change in a mostly negative manner, particularly seen in 'Pluto', 'The Captain of the 1964 Top of the Form Team' and 'Afterword.

The use of form and structure contributes considerably to the exploration of the theme of change. It is used variably through their poetry. In 'Man with a Golf Ball Heart' by Armitage, he uses what could be a sonnet to express change. The poem has fourteen lines and at the sixth line begins with 'but' which signals change. It could therefore be a modernised petrarchan sonnet. This would be appropriate as one of the poem's themes is change and would be an original way to explore that theme. The poem is written in prose-like free verse as Armitage is telling a story of what happened when he opened up a golf ball and is then likening it the man's heart. By doing so he uses more description and creates clear visual images. The graphic description of the golf ball uses words such as 'bitter', 'bad' and 'weep' which have negative connotations. The view of change in this poem is negative and tells of how the man became.

The prose technique is again used by Armitage in 'Goalkeeper with a Cigarette' in which the poem is written entirely in that style. This poem is a detailed description of an old-fashioned goalkeeper and therefore is helped by this writing style. By using an effective description technique Armitage is able to explore the theme of change in a different way in that this poem looks upon change in a nostalgic way that is not negative. However, in the poem 'Afterword' Armitage uses a very different structural technique. It is written in three quatrains and a couplet which is organised in a style preferred by Duffy. This is used as the poem is quite straightforward in its description of when two twins become distanced. It does not look at how, merely focuses on an instance when they are reunited. The structure then enhances the simplicity of the poem. The tone of the poem is less romantic than that of Duffy's work. Its tone is cold. Alliteration accentuates the 'f' sound in the first stanza which sounds harsh. This highlights change as it is not a tone that one would associate with twins who grew up together so therefore a change must have occurred. It also uses lots of rhyme where the words are matched up, in a way that twins are. In the second stanza all the rhymed words rhyme with twin. The rhyme also creates a steady internal rhythm.

Carol Ann Duffy also uses form and structure to accentuate meaning. It is used in a very particular way in 'Pluto'. In this poem the layout is different to others. Rather than the normal organised stanzas they are uneven and the second and third stanzas are indented. Duffy does this to represent a change in tense. This is done quite dramatically, as the style is very different to her preferred method, and so emphasises the change in tense and the emotions the speaker is feeling in being different to how he once was. His thoughts are written in italics which further adds to the uneven form of the poem.

The form and structural techniques used in 'The Captain of the 1964 Top of the Form Team' more like Duffy's style. The stanzas are organised and all are end stopped. It looks organised on the page and is preferred by Duffy. The first three stanzas are spoken as if from the past and the final stanza jumps to the present, therefore highlighting a...
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