S5 English
Good Morning S5!
In today’s lesson we will...
Revise poetic techniques.
 Think about the theme of love.
 Study a poem by Carol Anne Duffy
How do you tell someone that you love them?
“Shall I compare thee to a summers day?”
“I’ll say she looks as clear as morning roses newly
washed with dew.”
“Oh my luve’s like a red, red rose.”
“But to see her was to love her, love but her, and
love her forever.”
Wendy Cope
There’s not a Shakespeare sonnet
Or a Beethoven quartet
That’s easier to like than you
Or harder to forget.
You think that sounds extravagant?
I haven’t finished yet..
I like you more than I would like
Different aspects of love...
Read the short poem in your group –
what aspect of love is the poet
celebrating/commenting on?
‘Valentine’ by Carol Anne Duffy
What symbols of conventional love does
the title suggest?
In the poem, Duffy uses the symbol of an
onion to describe love.
Before reading the poem, decide in your
group how an onion might represent love?
Copy the poem onto your A3 page.
Make sure you follow the punctuation
Not a red rose or a satin heart.
I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.
The big picture...
 What is this poem about?
 In your groups come up with an answer.
Now follow your 10 step ‘how to study a
poem’ tips and write down your thoughts.
What is the poem about?
On the surface, the poem is about the
giving of an unusual present for Valentine’s
Day, but it is really an exploration of love
and the nature of relationships between
two people. The central image is of an
onion and it is used throughout the poem
as an extended metaphor for love.
In your group, take a statement from the
poem and explain it to your classmates.
What is the poet saying about love?
 How does she say it?
Think about tone, language and structure.
Statement 1
She believes in gifts despite
rejection of satin hearts
romantic object
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.
Layers in a
each other?
The brown skin like paper –
idea of unwrapping a
Statement 2
Love is blind...
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
Idea of the tears that
come when you
chop an onion
Tears of
Or heartache?
Love hurts
A lover has
the potential
to cause tears
Statement 3
Idea of loss, hurt,
pain and grief
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.
Idea of looking at your
reflection with tears in
your eyes
Statement 4
Is this an oxymoron or symbolising
The flavour is
persistent , the taste is
like a kiss that lasts
Love is
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
Love is possessive and
When relationship
ends, the bitterness
Statement 5
Colour of onion (and
Suggests wedding is not
important to her?
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.
Addressing her
You can make this more
conventional but hints she
doesn’t care?
Statement 6
Hint of a threat?
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.
Links marriage
to a wound
The capacity of
love to hurt
Subject Matter
What is the
poem about?
Ideas and Attitudes
What is the poet’s
attitude to love?
What is her tone?
Select 5 interesting uses of
language and analyse them
How does Duffy show her
disapproval for the traditional
Valentine gifts?
Comment on her use of ‘I’ and
Comment on lines 6, 11 and 18.
Subject matter
A universal poem – it could be
any lover to any beloved as
there is no indication of the sex
of either ‘I’ or ‘you’.
Onion is an extended metaphor
for love.
‘promise’, ‘light’ suggest positive
aspects of relationship. As
poem progresses there is more
focus on strength and power of
relationship – ‘fierce’,
‘possessive’, ‘faithful’. At end,
Duffy suggests intensity of
lovers may be too much for
relationship, forcing an ending –
Ideas and Attitudes
Initially she is positive about the
love she offers- it has many layers
which promise a joyful future.
However, the end is not as
positive with her suggestion that
one partner may end relationship.
Written in FREE VERSE – no
obvious rhyme scheme. It
echoes the naturalness of
speech and suggests love has
no order or pattern. Repetition
of line structure. Repetition of
Is the poem...
Cynical about love?
Realistic about love?
Idealistic about love?
Pessimistic about love?

Poetry - Wikispaces