Before you were mine by Carol Ann Duffy
Before you were mine
'Before you were mine' is a poem written by Carol Ann Duffy. It’s a
retrospective poignant dramatic monologue, which tells us about her
mother's life ten years before Duffy was born. The title suggests that
it's a love poem which shows the strong mother and daughter
relationship that they had. The poem starts off with a positive image.
"…laugh on with your pals Maggie McGeeney and Jean Duff…". This shows
us that before her mother had children, she was living a very
interesting and cheerful life. Duffy moves on by describing her
mother's romantic character. "…the fizzy, movie tomorrows…". The fact
that her mother used to go to the movies late at night suggests that
she used to go with a lover, which is a very passionate image.
However, she also had a disobedient side to her "…your Ma stands at
the close with a hiding for the late one…". This shows that Duffy's
mother used to come home late at night and used to get beaten by her
mother, which portrays her rebellious nature. Duffy says that her
mother didn't mind being beaten because she thought that being with
the one she loves was 'worth it'. Duffy writes her poem in the past
tense, which means that she wasn't there and is analyzing her mother's
past only with the use of photos and other people's interpretations of
how she was like.
Carol Ann Duffy uses many language techniques in order to convey her
thoughts about her mother's life. She progresses the poem by including
the part of her mother's life where Duffy had been born. "…possessive
yell…" is the reference to a baby wanting their mother, and the word
'possessive' shows that the baby has now taken over the mother's life.
This is proved later on when Duffy says "…my hands in those
high-heeled red shoes, relics…". This quote tells us that Duffy's
mother now has a child, therefore her shoes have gone out of fashion
and old. This is because in those days a mother's role was to stay at
home with her children, which meant that Duffy's mother couldn’t go
out and dance in those red...