‘ Havisham’ Duffy Annotation of the poem… What can you infer and interpret?
B eloved sweetheart b astard . Not a day since then I haven’t wished him dead . Prayed for it So hard I’ve dark green pebbles for eyes , Ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with. oxymoron Alliteration of the blosive ‘b’ enjambement Dark imagery Religious imagery Note the lack of exclamation mark – she is serious and seemingly no longer angry? Metaphor represents her jealousy Use of the model verb Metaphor represents her aging, as well as the years spent ‘wringing her hands’ with emotion / anger / nerves
Spinster . I stink and remember. Whole days in bed cawing Noooooo at the wall; the dress yellowing , trembling if I open the wardrobe, the slewed mirror , full-length, her, myself , who did this One word sentence stands out Observation of what she is now (literally) – and a suggestion of what was wrong (metaphorically) with her to be dumped? The cry of a crow creates gothic imagery Neologism created to represent the pain (no word previously created to express) Highlights time passed Double meaning – the dress trembles (personification), as if waiting to be put back away / she trembles (literally) when looking at the clothes of her past Double meaning – past tense of ‘slay’ suggesting she has smashed the mirror in anger / also means drunk, suggesting she is unable to see her true reflection through the blur of alcohol Use of feminist reference to that of Julia Kristeva – she is unable to identify herself – ‘he’ made her an ‘object’ and she now fights to regain the ‘symbolic’ (myself)
to me? Puce curses that are sounds not words , Some nights better , the lost body over me, my fluent tongue in his mouth in its ear then down till I suddenly bite awake . Love’s End of rhetorical question Colour of deep red to purple-brown suggests old blood which represents old wounds Suggests she no longer can access language to express her feelings – a feminist analysis explored by Caryl Churchill in The Skriker, where pain is so deep there is no language available to describe it Conversational tone She tries to make him the ‘object’ Lost to her / also creates sexual imagery of body in her dreams The dream continues and the love making is easy and poetic – she sees ‘him’ The act is ‘sudden’ to him in the dream and the suddenness wakes her – and us as the reader to the viciousness of the attack (or dreamed attack)
hate behind a white veil ; a red balloon bursting in my face. Bang . I stabbed at a wedding-cake , Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon . Don’t think it’s only the heart that b-b-b-breaks . Love’s hate - oxymoron Triple meaning – ‘white’ suggests innocence, ‘white veil’ represents the wedding, ‘veil’ represents in feminist terms that she is concealing something ‘ red’ suggests anger, ‘red balloon bursting’ is a metaphor used to express her embarrassment (the veil concealed this) Short sentence for effect – also represents the shock she experienced ‘ Stabbed’ creates violent imagery / ‘stabbed at a wedding-cake’ shows literally and anger and metaphorically shows her opinion on marriage Use of the imperative verb Use of dark imagery, reference to death links to idea that the ‘honeymoon’ would provide the long painful death she wants Use of blosive ‘b’ in a stuttering style, suggests the is breaking down again / she suggests that her life has broken as a result – not just her heart