Duffy Essay

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Duffy’s poetry in Feminine Gospels presents women as partly responsible for their own problems

Carol Ann Duffy seems to ask political/feminist questions in the following poems and believes women to be partly responsible for mass production, industrialisation and technology. The women in Duffy’s poems are seen as obsessive (The Diet, Work) and not in control (the woman who shopped). All three poems seem to combine aspects of femininity into one character such as gluttony, self-harm/losing oneself and seek to change themselves in some way. It seems Duffy has a major conflict with herself and the female population in general. Everyone seems to want to be the next top model or superstar. These cravings and affections are the downfall of women these days. They are unable to control themselves of anything going on in the media or the papers and relentlessly dive in to get involved. The main problem with women is that they struggle to realise their identity and try to conform to a certain audience to gain that identity. It seems Duffy has a major distaste for market capitalism and its effect on women. Duffy is almost blaming women for global capitalism as much as they are the victims of it.

Duffy explores these themes really well in the diet about an adolescent female who is struggling with her identity and weight issues. “She could fly on the wind” this line shows that she is easily led astray by people and what they say. In other words the woman is very sensitive. “She stayed near people” is conformity to society. Anorexia and self-deterioration are also a theme in this poem as Duffy says “she had guns for hips” and “floated into the barman’s eye”. These lines show that Anorexia is life-threatening and is used as a minor metaphor.

The tone of the poem is almost as if Duffy is mocking women and their helplessness. She uses each stanza to show how this woman literally vanishes into another woman’s body so not only does she lose her identity but becomes someone...
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