Love and Poem

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Carol Ann Duffy’s poem ‘Havisham’ is a poem in which there is an element of ambivalence. Havisham is spoken by ‘Miss Havisham’, a character from Charles Dickens ‘Great Expectations’. She was jilted at the alter by her fiancé and continues to wear her wedding dress and sit amongst the remains of her wedding breakfast for the rest of her life, while she plots revenge on all men. Duffy’s use of imagery and widely explored techniques effectively shows this element. Within the first line of the poem, ambivalence is effectively shown through this oxymoron. We can see the frustrated feelings of Miss Havisham of the love for her ex-fiancé but also the hatred. At the beginning of the poem she introduces him as ‘Beloved sweetheart bastard’. This is a highlight of the ambivalent feelings that confuse her as ‘Beloved’ creates a loving and romantic atmosphere of her would-be husband. This is smashed by her pure hatred and anger by the word ‘bastard’. The anger and cruelty are connotations of ‘bastard’ also with a hint of selfishness. The oxymoron is extra special as it the lovely ‘sweetheart’ contrasts against the hatred ‘bastard’. This shows the confusion and frustration of what she is feeling. It can show the contrast into love itself, with happiness and pain. Havisham’s feelings are stripped and uncensored through the oxymoron. Sympathy starts to come towards us for the pain Havisham still bears through the confused and ambivalent language. Despite everything, through her anger and pungent hatred, she still has a deep love for this man. Duffy’s use of imagery and metaphors effectively builds upon the ambivalence within the poem as a whole. Here we can see Havisham’s ambivalent, trapped and frustrated feeling of something of which she cannot perform. Havisham has introduced her ex-bridegroom and her anger towards him; she is now blaming him for her aging. ‘Ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with’. The metaphor ‘ropes on the back of my hands’ conveys the image...
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