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Analysis Of Carol Ann Duffy's "Havisham" Meoncross, Year 11 Essay

644 words - 3 pages

How does the speaker present her feelings in this poem?
In this poem, the speaker presents a series of strong feelings from the first person perspective of the Miss Havisham: the Dickensian character jilted on the morning of her wedding day. The poem begins with an oxymoron, showing, immediately, Havisham’s confused state of mind. She calls her lover a “beloved Sweetheart bastard”, juxtaposing the ideas of true love, as well as bitter hatred. We see this again in lines 10/11 when she paradoxically refers to “love’s hate”, indicating that she feels an equal mixture of positive and negative emotions. It is clear that she has not got over the trauma of being abandoned by the man she loved and this has left her mentally unhinged and emotionally unstable.
In line three Duffy gives Havisham “dark green pebbles for eyes”; a metaphor which, perhaps, suggests that she has emotionally turned to stone. The colour green has connotations of jealousy, implying that Havisham is envious of the life her fiancé has without her, or perhaps the life she might have had with him. The fact that her eyes – something which St Augustine referred to as windows to the soul – are now cold and hard indicates that this event has had a permanent effect on her emotional state. It is also redolent of the Gorgon Medusa – a once beautiful woman cursed to turn everything she looked upon to stone. This indicates that perhaps Miss Havisham was once lovely and youthfully optimistic but has now been turned into a monster. This monstrous side of her character is also evoked in the bird imagery: “in bed cawing”, implying that she is now such an emotional wreck that she is incapable of normal speech but can only shriek like a crow, making inarticulate sounds in her desperation and hatred. Crows and ravens often symbolise death and this image pervades the poem, amongst other references: “wished him...

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