The poem ‘Valentine’ by Carol Ann Duffy portrays a realistic and honest view on love. Duffy has a unique perspective of love contrasting to the stereotypical way love is often thought about. She compares love to an onion, which is odd because an onion is neither visually appealing nor valued but Duffy’s insight on love and unconventional way of perceiving love is what makes the poem Valentine interesting. She presents her ideas by using a range of different poetic devices such as, choosing a distinct form and structure, using powerful diction and effectively using an extended metaphor throughout the poem.
Duffy begins her poem in an unusual manner as compared to other love poems would usually begin; this is because she sets an unromantic scene. The opening sentence of ‘not a red rose or a satin heart’ immediately demonstrates her disapproval of traditional gifts, which are commonly exchanged on Valentine’s Day. Duffy attempts to explain one of the central themes to the reader which is; one does not require superficial and cliché gifts to demonstrate his or her love but requires gestures such as honesty and loyalty. This is shown when she says, ‘I am trying to be truthful, not a cute card or kissogram.’ The word ‘truthful’ is linked with positive connotations such as honesty and loyalty, both key elements required for any relationship.’
Duffy uses powerful diction to express her ideas, which leaves a significant impact to the meaning of the poem. The use of words such as ‘lethal’ and ‘fierce’ are unusual choices because they’re associated with negative connotations. The negative impact made by these words tell the reader that love is not always pleasant and gentle as it is perceived to be, but sometimes harmful and poisonous. On the contrary Duffy uses diction such as ‘light’ and ‘faithful’ and ‘wedding ring’ all symbolising hope, security, loyalty, eternal promise all positive qualities essential for love to prosper.
Duffy compares the...
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