Originally Carol Ann Duffy Critical Essay Example

This poem is about Duffy’s experience of moving from the Gorbals in Glasgow to Stafford at the age of six. The poem describes the isolation and confusion she felt as a child, coping with a major change in her life. The literal and metaphorical details of the move and the journey itself are explored.

Duffy contends that our identity is shaped by our environment, and also by changes in dialect and culture.

The most crucial line in the poem comes at the beginning of stanza two when she states that ‘All childhood is an emigration.’ It is a truism that growing up, especially puberty, can generate emotional chaos, until the changes settle and character is set.

Structure
The poem comprises three eight-line stanzas in free verse, though Duffy skilfully manipulates the sentence lengths and enjambs lines. The choppy rhythm and fragmented imagery, like snatched memories, reflect the internal chaos in the poet’s mind.

Language and Imagery
The poet uses the first-person voice, to tell the story of the move in a dramatic monologue. She also uses rhyme subtly, for example, in stanza two ‘slow’ at the end of line one rhymes with ‘know’, mid-line three.

The dominant metaphor is of the change of home as a journey. The simile of her tongue ‘shedding its skin like a snake’ is particularly vivid. These concrete images are balanced by snatches and fragments of memories, as if the poet is unable to pull together and make sense of her emotions.

1) Higher English sample critical essay 1 on Carol Ann Duffy's 'Havisham' poem. Approx. 820 words.
2) Higher English sample critical essay 2 on Carol Ann Duffy's 'Havisham' poem. Approx. 1100 words.
3) Higher English sample critical essay 3 on Carol Ann Duffy's 'Havisham' poem. Approx. 1300 words.
4) Higher English sample critical essay 4 on Carol Ann Duffy's 'Shooting Stars' poem. Approx. 850 words.
5) Higher English sample critical essay 5 on Carol Ann Duffy's 'Education for Leisure' poem. Approx. 1100 words.
6) Higher English sample critical essay 6 on Carol Ann Duffy's 'Havisham' poem. Approx. 1100 words.
7) Higher English sample critical essay 7 comparing the theme of love as portrayed in Carol Ann Duffy's 'Havisham' and 'Anne Hathaway' poems. Approx. 1000 words.
8) Higher English sample critical essay 8 discusses the way in which a poem allows the reader to view a character from a more unusual perspective. Approx. 1150 words.
9) Higher English sample critical essay 9 discusses the significance of the closing lines of Havisham. Approx. 950 words.
10) Higher English sample critical essay 10 on War Photographer. Approx. 1300 words. Essay question: Choose a poem which you find emotionally unsettling or intellectually challenging.
Show how the poem elicits the response from you and discuss how it contributes to your understanding of the central concern(s) of the poem.
11) Higher English sample critical essay 11 on War Photographer. Approx. 1000 words. Choose a poem, which deals with conflict, danger or death.
Show how the poet creates an appropriate mood for the subject matter and go onto discuss how effectively the poet uses this mood to enhance your understanding of the central concerns of the poem.
12) Higher English sample critical essay 12 explores the way in which Duffy conveys the theme of loneliness in the poem Havisham. Approx. 900 words.
13) An A-grade Higher English critical essay (around 1300 words) on Carol Ann Duffy's 'Originally' poem. The essay explores the techniques used to convey the central concern of the poem and compares and contrasts the poem's ideas with those of Jon Stallworthy's in the "The Almond Tree".

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