Stealing and Valentine

“Stealing” by Ann is written in the first person narration.

The speaker indicates directly to the reader that the most unusual thing was a snowman. Many of these, we are told by the thief are ‘things which I don’t need’, which is why we can question what exactly the thief is trying to steal and why. After all what exactly is the thief trying to achieve by stealing the snowman? We are told that ‘part of the thrill was knowing that the children would cry in the morning’, so perhaps metaphorically the thief sees the snowman as someone’s happiness and is in fact trying to steal someone else’s happiness for himself.Furthermore, the speaker is also a loner and yearns for companionship.

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He claims “I wanted him, a mate withy a mind as cold as the slice of the ice within my own brain”. No matter how miserable the children will be because of his inconsiderate action, he doesn’t care, for he is in need of a mate. The phrase ‘slice of ice’ seems very cold and heartless in itself, using it to describe a part of someone’s brain seems to me to be a very negative personality trait. The thief is morally confused- he sees “not taking what you want” as “giving in”, as if you might as well be dead as accept conventional morality.She (Duffy) is examining someone else’s attitude to life. I think this is very possible as the thief makes it clear that he/she is unhappy with life by making remarks such as ‘life’s tough’.

The thief also tries to ressemble the snowman in his/her yard, to me it seems the thief is doing this to try and make it (the snowman) his own and is angered when someone else’s snowman can mean nothing to him/her. Maybe because the thief finds life so ‘tough’ he/she may just want to take it out on someone and make them suffer like he/she is.Another reason for stealing could be simply because the thief wanted him.

The thief tells us that you’re ‘better of dead than giving in, not taking what you want’ which is very selfish and cold hearted. Carol Ann Duffy made it a confusing poem in many ways, firstly the whole idea of stealing a snowman is quite strange anyway and secondly the poem is written in an odd way. ‘I’m a mucky ghost’ he/she sees him/herself to be mysterious, unnoticed and feared and the image of ‘gloved hand twisting a door knob’ is almost like a scene from a horror movie.A metaphor is used in line13, “I’m a mucky ghost”, as in the eyes of the children, the victims, the speaker is a mucky ghost which is even worse than human beings and is disliked by others. He breaks in out of curiosity, “to have a look” but does not understand what he sees. He is pathetic, as he seems anxious to make a mark of some kind, weather leaving “a mess” or steaming up mirrors with his breath.

He casually mentions how he might “pinch a camera”-it is worth little to him, but much to those whose memories it has recorded.He does all this on deliberate which proves he is powerful. He is portrayed as being on the outside of society, restricted to looking at others riches. “I say like this- Aah”, which appeals to the readers sense of hearing, making the sigh more impressive and forms a strong impression in the mind of the reader. It is evident from the sigh ‘Aah’ that the thief has no regrets.

The sigh is almost sarcastic, in which case the thief is a very unscrupulous character. In the forth verse the story is returned back to the snowman….Repetition of the word “again”, emphasizes that the speaker is kicking the snowman repeatedly and is trying hard to destroy it, neglecting the feeling of the children.

For the snowman, “he don’t look the same” and is left with its “lumps of snow” at he end, this is a metaphor to reveal the useless of his action to steal the snowman. However he/she does mention that ‘it seems daft now’ which could mean that the thief was confused at the time. But then looking at the 3rd verse the thief seems pretty aware of what harm he/she is causing. “Standing/alone among lumps of snow…

. The snowman in other words, stands as a symbol for the cold and loneliness of the speaker’s own situation.Because the speaker smashes the snowman up (‘booted him. Again. Again’) it is also symbolic of his or her self-destructive behavior.

This could also be a metaphor for the self-defeating nature of his thefts. The last stanza and the last reason would be boredom as it plays a big part in the closing verse. The thief say’s that ‘mostly I am so bored I could eat myself’ and perhaps sees stealing as a form of entereainment. The thief stole a guitar once intending to learn how to play perhaps to make him/her less bored.He/she are bored with themselves and with the world because no one wants anything to do with this person. The speaker in the poem is pessimistic and regards himself as a failure, as he assumes he might learn how to play a guitar after he stole one. We can sense that the speaker longs for a glamous life, as he desires to be able to play a guitar and be as genius as Shakespeare.

This poem is basically an informal and casual speech, in which the speaker communicates directly with the reader.As revealed from the last sentence. “You don’t understand what I’m saying, do you? the speaker is addressing to the reader and requesting them to respond and be involved. This next poem is very different because the poem influences about love and feelings which is different because “Stealing” is psychological in a way which describes thoughts and it makes us wonder why he chooses to do such a crime. The second poem that I am going to discuss is “Valentine”. In “Valentine”, Duffy uses the onion to give an original and, in some ways, a shocking view of love: “Not a red rose or a satin heart”- she ignores the clichi?? s and opts for something more dramastic and powerful.

This is the first line of the poem, and it automatically gives a negative impression, as the first remark in the poem is negative-‘not’. Also, the title of the poem is very misleading. One would expect to read of romantic love, instead she writes about cynical love, suggesting that she may have been hurt in previous relationships. We learn that the poet has chosen to give her lover an onion as a valentine’s gift. She uses the onion to symbolise love. Duffy is deliberately trying to be unconventional in her gift of onion as an onion is not usually associated with a love poem.

She uses an extended metaphor to convey this idea. “I give you an onion; it is wrapped in brown paper”. With this literacy device, she creates an air of mystery.

“It promises light, like the careful undressing of love”. In this metaphor, Duffy clearly uses repetition of the ‘I’ sound to create an exotic feeling. She adds to this feeling by referring to undressing, which could be viewed as being sexual. She also uses the moon as a metaphor, which is a usual representation of love.

Further in the poem, the use of the word “here” makes the reader feel that the poet is in control.This almost seems forceful, and it makes the reader pay attention because it has one syllable. Also when saying the word, you have to take a breath before and after. She continues with the extended metaphor. “It will blind you with tears”. Not only will the onion make your eyes water, the pain caused by a loved one will make you cry too. She is referring to the pain and heartache sometimes associated with relationships. Also she could be suggesting that the pain can make one feel bitter and disillusioned.

It will blind you with tears like a lover. It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief”. Everyone knows that onions make you cry when not handled properly, and Duffy is comparing handling an onion to the fragile structure of love. She explains that she does not want to be unkind to the received by giving this kind of gift.

She uses a single line to emphasise its meaning and mood: “I am trying to be truthful”. It is almost like Duffy is responding to an unimpressed comment by her lover through declaring her honesty.She stakes this claim that she is realistic further by saying: “I am trying to be truthful”. She is using alliteration, and the repetition of the’t’ sound gives it the feeling of sincerity. In the next line she says: “Not a cute card or a kiss-o-gram”.

Duffy again uses a negative technique to start the line. This line is saying that an onion is not a typical gift. In the next verse, Duffy repeats a line again: “I give you an onion”. This line may be repeated to make sure that the reader can see what the underlying message is and also to again remind the reader how unusual the gift is.Duffy then moves on to write about the properties of an onion, but she links these properties to her theme: “It’s fierce kiss will stay on your lips”.

This means that the bitter taste of an onion remains on a person’s lips just like the memory of a kiss can stay with someone forever. She also suggests that love does not always last forever, and that a partner can cheat on the other at any time: “Possessive and faithful as we are, for as long as we are”. Duffy starts her last stanza with a single sentence: “Take it”, insisting that her lover accept her gift.

In a sense she puts down marriage.She compares the loops of an onion to a wedding ring, and implies that marriage can reduce the love and passion that two lovers share with each other- surely, a thought from a personal experience. The next line is a single word: “Lethal”.

Here Duffy either wants the readers to think that marriage will ultimately lead to death or divorce, or she has written it sarcastically to the lover, maybe because he thinks marriage is mean less. She adds to her lovers thoughts by saying: “It’s scent will cling to your fingers, cling to your knife” where she is starting that love has such a possessive grasp on her, it cling to her.Also that people from a broken marriage or love, will continue to experience heartache, pain and bitterness.

“It’s scent will cling to your knife”. The reputation of the word ‘cling’ is effective. The word ‘knife’ gives the image of a wound and the sharpness of their relationship.

This maybe due to the fact that Carol Ann Duffy has been hurt in previous relationships. In conclusion, I think Valentine is a good poem because it is irregular and it uses many effective images. I like the way some words are more important, it makes you try to think what they mean.In my view Carol Ann Duffy seems to have a better understanding of love. The use of metaphors play’s an important role in both poems as does use of poetic imagery. In my view Carol Ann Duffy seems to have a better understanding of love. But in “Stealing” it is very outstanding. I think that it is challenging poem which you have to think about to understand.

There are many questions about the thief’s identity which you can only guess. The end question is quite an odd way to end a poem and it is not the sort of ending that I expected.It leaves you wondering who the thief is questioning. I was slightly disappointed by the vague ending; I was expecting some sort of consequence to the thief’s actions. It’s a very clear poem about the way a thief thinks and why they steal.

‘the slice of ice in the brain’ seems very psychological and is a clever way to describe the coldness or selfishness in someone’s mind. I therefore think hat Carol Ann Duffy’s idea of a thief is quite accurate and realistic and the reason we don’t fully understand the poem is because we’ll never fully understand why thieves steal.