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Research paper example essay prompt: Carol Anne Duffys Adultery - 1097 words
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.. n, than her own, especially when she has focused on what the characters are thinking in the rest of the poem. Altogether, Duffy is revealing some of the emotions involved with adultery. There is also the matter of whether the adulterer is male or female. "Bastard" is traditionally an insult towards men, and it is unlikely that Duffy would purposely confuse the reader in regard to the gender of the main character, especially when their actions and thoughts are so vital to the poem.
This does not necessarily mean that the adulterer is male. The references earlier to oral sex implied that the adulterer was female, but I could be wrong about those, or maybe Duffy is saying that person the adulterer is having an affair with is a bastard - hence a female adulterer. With the oral sex references in mind, presuming they are correct, it suggests that the affair is homosexual, but if this were the case then Duffy would almost certainly say it in more explicit terms, as on first read this is not apparent, and Duffy cannot want her poem to be that misunderstood. The next verse begins: "Do it do it do it. Sweet darkness" Duffy is using poetic devices to convey the mood and atmosphere she wants to create.
The caesura again breaks the line in two giving a big impact and significance to both halves as the readers pauses for effect. The repetition shows that the phrase "do it" is important and needs to be emphasized again and again, or perhaps it is describing how they "do it" again and again - a possible sexual reference. The lack of punctuation conveys the speed and urgency. "Sweet darkness" is almost an oxymoron; we are used to thinking of darkness as spooky, scary and hiding dangers, and to think of it as sweet seems to be a contradiction in terms, it isn't really, but Duffy knows that this impression will be given. She could be talking about the lovers meeting in the darkness, or darkness hiding their sins, but either way, the fact that it appears to be an oxymoron draws the readers attention to it, as does the caesura. Duffy then returns to sexually ambiguous phrases like "how you are wanted, which way, now", and "pay for it in cash" this must be referring to desire in the former quotation and probably prostitution in the latter.
However, Duffy never explicitly writes about prostitution, just hints at it in order to increase the sexual tension and condense the atmosphere of seediness. Duffy goes on to describe how the affair is taking it's toll on the marriage and conscience of the adulterer. "..The life which crumbles like a wedding cake." - Duffy uses a simile to describe how the life is being eroded, by comparing it to a crumbling wedding cake, reminding that the adulterer is married, and that the marriage must also be splintering. The seventh verse is interesting: "Paranoia for lunch; too much to drink, as a hand on your thigh tilts the restaurant. You know all about love, don't you. Turn on your beautiful eyes" The annotations show all the poetic devices that Duffy uses, mostly in order to increase the mood of the poem and convey the theme.
In the next verse Duffy uses an interesting image: "the slicing of innocent onions scalds you to tears". I do not know what Duffy is trying to say to the reader here, but there are several possibilities. The adulterer has returned to the household chores for the family, and is crying because he/she feels bad about how he/she has betrayed the family, and is reminded of this by the return to the old routine; or possibly the "innocent onions" represent the innocent members of the family that the adulterer has hurt - this would be the "slicing" - and the realisation of this has made the adulterer cry, just like cutting onions would. Duffy is telling the reader that the adulterer feels remorse that the family has suffered for her affair, and this changes the atmosphere. It appears that in these verses the poet is describing what happens when the adulterer returns to the family home, he/she sleeps in a "marital bed", Duffy is pointing this out so deliberately to highlight the fact that he/she has recently been sharing another bed, an extra-marital one.
"The tarnished spoon of your body stirring betrayal" - Duffy uses a metaphor to explain that the adulterer feels dirty due to his/her actions, and is acutely aware of how he/she has let down the family and betrayed the spouse. The reader feels that the adulterer regrets their actions, and is now dealing with the consequences, which could be severe as he/she has to send "dumb and explicit flowers on nobody's birthday" to try to win over the partner again and apologise. If the partner hasn't found out then the adulterer is probably sending the flowers just out of guilt. However, the last verse implies that the partner does know what's been going on, as they appear to have an argument about it: "..You did it. What.
Didn't you. Fuck. Fuck. No.." Duffy does not explicitly show that it is dialogue by using inverted commas, but the language suggests it is. The partner has just discovered what is going on and is confronting the adulterer.
The colloquialism is again used to give the line power, impact, and the ability to shock, as "*censored*" is generally considered to be the most taboo word in the English language. It is shows that the this is very emotional. The characters are using "strong language" because they have very strong feelings and are very upset. They both want to get across the power of what they are feeling, and the lack of question marks-?- show that they are not calmly asking each other questions, but are speaking in statements - "You did it, didn't you.", rather than "You did it, didn't you?". This also implies that they are shouting at each other. This is usually shown in either capital letters, italics, or bold type, but Duffy again does not want to be so explicit.
She wants the reader to have to read the verse a few time through to understand it, as this will make them concentrate more and focus on what is being said. Throughout this poem Duffy is building up atmosphere. She uses language and poetic devices to create a mood, and then changes the mood, thereby moving the story on.
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