Writing contemporary feminist fables

Her assumption about the fairy lights is ironic as it turns into a serious matter, ‘is he putting fairy lights in the tree? ‘ shows her uncertainty through the question mark. The language begins to speed up through the increase of punctuation, turning her speech into a list and a recollection, ‘He came into the house.

.. he drew the blinds.

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.. he sat’.

As the tragedy builds up the poem adopt and anecdotal approach, ‘I said, What in the name of God is going on? ‘ shows the natural, colloquial reaction of an exasperated wife at her partner’s actions.The alliteration of the ‘g’ sound, ‘glass, goblet, golden’, mimic the gagging sound and harsh reality of the events occurring. The account is continued with a sense of humour and bitter sarcasm, ‘At least, I said, you’ll be able to give up smoking for good.

‘ The use of ‘granted’ in two different senses, also increases the humour as it emphasizes the idea that the pursuit of money had no nourishment.Throughout the poem there is a lot of light imagery of gold, which is rather ironic as his wish was anything but enlightened, ‘light…gold… light-bulb.

.. fairy lights..

. gleamed… luteous’. “Mrs Lazarus” takes a rather different approach, through the imagery of suffering and assonance to show her grief.

The punctuation in the poem make it short and show her emotional state, ‘Gone home. Gutted the place’ and the alliteration of the strong sounds reinforce the idea of her devastated state. The religious imagery, ‘gaunt nun’ shows that she does everything due to her loss and loses her sensuality and sexuality because of this. The temporal progression ‘months…

dwindling’ present the idea that his, image, memory and her grief are slowly fading, which is then reinforced by the enjambment of ‘going, going’. Duffy uses repeated imagery of loss and reference to senses, ‘no longer…

last hair… scent went’, to emphasize that he no longer plays a part in her sensual experiences. As that was left was ‘the small zero held by the gold of [her] ring’ where Duffy portrays the emptiness of relationships and marriage.

The effects of time and memory are explored and the idea that one cannot return to the past, which is ironic as this is what happens in the poem.The lyrical quality of her freedom and regained independence ‘moon… to the sky’, is disrupted by ‘a hare thump from a hedge’, creating a sense of panic, reflected by the harsh, sudden imagery ‘behind..

. barking..

. blacksmith’s’. Associated with his return are harsh sounds are bitter language, ‘croaking… cuckold’. The length of the stanzas in the poem is similar, however each stanza portrays a different episode consisting of a clear narrative progression.

The punctuation and rhythm of the poem changes, denuding the emotional panic and ranging emotions of the persona.”The World’s Wife, which trained an idiosyncratic eye on the women at the side of historical or legendary men”, was a vehicle for Duffy’s presentation of feminist and political points, such as the exclusion of women from history, where Duffy reminds the reader that the story of Midas is viewed purely considering the effect his actions had on him and not his wife who lost her chance of having a child. The decision making of male characters and how this affects their female counterparts is also an aspect that is explored in all three poems.”Mrs Midas” especially represents the collective voice of women, which are trapped in culture of phallocentric principles. “Mrs Lazarus”, however explores Duffy’s views on capitalism and the fact that the pursuit of wealth is a barrier towards spirituality. In all the poems Duffy shows that females tend to appreciate compassion and relationship more and are actively suppressed by the male dominated society.

An example of this is in “Mrs Midas” where many verbs are associated with the husband enforcing the idea of male dominance.Overall Duffy succeeds in undertaking a humorous approach to her poems through the rewriting of history from ‘her’ perspective to ‘his’ perspective. However underpinning the comedy there is a serious point being made about the effects and consequences of male behaviour upon females. This volume, succeeds in its addressing of important feminist issues, in a different, humorous and witty manner, which shows Duffy’s development of the dramatic personae to show how women have been suppressed or ignored throughout history.