Discuss How Carol Ann Duffy Makes Effective Use Of Metaphor.
In ‘Valentine’, Carol Ann Duffy uses metaphors to illustrate and
attempt to explain the complex subject of love. ‘Valentine’ is a very
poignant, meaningful poem which is on a very personal level with
C.A.D. It seems as if she is drawing on personal experiences.
The general tone of the poem appears to be one of bitterness and
resentment. Forceful comments such as, ‘…Here..’ and ‘…Take it…’
suggest that she still holds hidden anger towards the events from
which she is drawing her memories.
The main metaphor that she uses is of course an onion. She uses an
onion to compare the different aspects of love in a number of ways. In
the first instance of C.A.D’s use of an onion she uses it to compare
the fact that both an onion and love have many layers. She proposes
that this is a huge similarity between the two apparently unrelated
Secondly, C.A.D uses the onion’s shape and colour to reflect how life
changing love can be. She describes the onion as ‘…a moon wrapped in
brown paper…’ What she means by this is that love can light up your
heart but that it often becomes clouded by other issues and problems-
the brown paper symbolizes the ‘barrier’. In another way, the brown
paper could symbolize boundaries people sometimes erect because they
are scared or cynical.
C.A.D. seems to be cynical about love-all throughout the poem she
seems to want to escape the clichés and what most people would
consider as romance. Perhaps this may be because she has had a bad
experience of love which she has then illustrated through words in her
Just after this she states ‘…it promises light..’ which means that
C.A.D is suggesting that sometimes a relationship offers hope. If
C.A.D was referring to herself then it would be entirely against the
mood of the rest of the poem-she appears cynical whereas here she
would be suggesting a relationship can be a means of escaping
something bad. It seems more likely that she is portraying what many
other women, not unlike her, would feel. Maybe she is trying to
dissuade women or even men from feeling this or maybe she is merely
making a statement.
In the second stanza, Carol Ann Duffy reverts to a more forceful and
cynical way of approaching love. The opening of it, ‘…Here…’ is
especially forceful and the second line compares love to an onion once
more. She says that love ‘…will blind you with tears like a lover…’
She uses the effects of an onion to relate the effects of love.
Basically C.A.D is saying that love hurts. Although this is
technically a cliché, I don’t think that C.A.D means it as such-she
seems to be saying that anyone you may fall for will hurt you. In a
way, she seems to be trying to deter people from falling in love.
Also, an onion brings tears to a person’s eyes which...