Mrs Quasimodo (Carol Ann Duffy) Essay

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Mrs Quasimodo is a poem from the The World’s Wife collection by Carol Anne Duffy which takes characters and myths from history that focus on famous men. However, Duffy’s feminist view allows the reader to see the women’s, who were previously hidden behind these men, point of view. This poem focuses on the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo is the hunchbacked bell-ringer so the poem pretends as though he has a wife. He falls in love with a beautiful Gypsy and Mrs Quasimodo starts to feel neglected and betrayed. Its set in Paris, as the bells are in the famous cathedral Notre Dame. Its looking at the past as the story is from 1482 and the narrative is also written as though its after Quasimodo’s death.

Fitting in with the theme of Duffy’s poem collection, Mrs Quasimodo is the speaker. In the novel, the reader fells sympathy for Quasimodo as he is lonely and innocently falls in love with Esmerelda. However, in the poem, the reader feels more sympathy to Mrs Quasimodo as she has no identity and isn’t loved by her husband anymore, in fact Quasimodo is portrayed with a more negative tone.

During the poem, Mrs Quasimodo recalls some of the names that other people call her and illustrates how people see her. This shows her lack of confidence as she opens the poem with reference to her nicknames, including ‘village runt...lame, hare-lipped...ugly cliche in a field’. Enjambment is used during the list of names, I think this is to symbolise the continual name calling aimed at her. Between all the negative labels, she is referred to as ‘sweet-tempered’ even though this is an attempt at being kind, its not the most ideal compliment so people do not predominantly think of her positively. Later on, she describes herself as ‘the hunchback’s wife’ as thought this is what people commonly call her, with a 3rd person speaking in italics as if they are gossiped about and people whisper around them. However, Mrs Quasimodo knows what they call her and perhaps feels...
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