Why does Carol Ann Duffy put Little Red Cap at the beginning of the
collection and Demeter at the end? How effective do you think they are
as first and last poems?
In Carol Ann Duffy’s collection of poems, “The Worlds Wife” the first
and last poems are vital to the collection. The opening poem must
successfully introduce the themes and style of poems in the collection
and the final poem should conclude the collection.
Little Red Cap successfully introduces themes that are present
throughout the collection. Sexuality is a theme that is present in
most of the poems and Little Red Cap is no exception. Duffy writes
“which flew, straight, from my hands to his open mouth”, this is a
metaphor for Little Red Cap’s virginity this introduces the reader to
the theme of sexuality but much more subtly than the majority of other
poems. Duffy may be subtler in Little Red Cap purposefully in order to
make her following poems transgressive to the reader. In order to
continue to shock the reader she cannot be too dreadful in the first
poem the reader may become bored with the poems. Also the first poem
should just be a taste of what is to come and Duffy does this
Another prominent idea or theme throughout the collection of poems is
feminism. Little Red Cap coincides with this theme. Little Red Cap
kills the wolf; the death of the male character occurs frequently in
many poems such as Delilah, Queen Kong and Mrs. Lazarus. The death of
the male is very significant in showing the how feminist the poems
are, it shows the female having power over the male. Little Red Cap
introduces the principle of feminism effectively, making the reader
understand that the poem is written with feministic views in mind.
Little Red Cap contains explicit links to other poems within the
collection such as Sisyphus, Midas and Lazarus therefore showing
reader what is to come in the collection. Duffy writes “scraps of
red” and “music and blood”, the symbol of blood can be directly linked
to many of the poems such as Salome and Penelope this is a very strong
image which Duffy chooses to introduce to the reader immediately to
grab attention and this does effectively introduce the symbol of blood
that runs throughout.
In terms of style Little Red Cap introduces the reader to Duffy’s
style used in the collection. Little Red Cap is full of sentence
fragments, which is typical of Duffy’s style of poetry. For instance “
I stitched him up.” And “Poetry.” These short sentences emphasize and
stress important parts of the poem. This is common in most of the
poems in the collection therefore Little Red Cap...