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Feminine gospels more.pdf

  1. Feminine gospels
  2. Theme of the female voice  The theme of the female voice throughout the poems could be used to portray the suffocation or empowerment of these voices  "What I was trying to do was use the idea of the gospel truth: in a sense the gospels are a tall story told as truth, so these poems were about trying to find truth about particularly female issues, but doing it within tall stories.“ Carol Ann Duffy  She seeks to give women back the voice they have been denied through retelling of aspects of the female experience, through a female lens  ‘Ecriture feminine’ text – the female now speaks with a borrowed language after centuries of suppression of the female voice, reaffirming their identities through engaging with their own ‘otherness’, often subverts typical syntax seeking to evade the discourse stemming from the patriarchal system  The bible, classical mythology and fairy tales all have deeply embedded anti-female prejudices  There are still barriers for women in the modern world; high levels of violent offences committed against women by men, ‘glass ceiling’ that women reach in their career, media providing unrealistic expectations of body image, continuous objectification of women as objects to gratify male desires  Media influence in its rise since the internet 1990, airbrushing culture, in the last 15 years eating disorders have doubled, 2000-2010 depression rates of women and girls has doubled  War context, (news in loud), UK sustained a period of peace since WW2, continued involvement in overseas conflict, criticised on the grounds that participation has interfered resulting in humanitarian crises.
  3. Anon  Returning history’s anonymised women their voice  Explores female subjugation in a typically masculine sphere of literature  ‘Anon’ as a title is ambiguous – anonymous? The female voice is reduced, female writers not recognised, many signed poems as anon  Structurally narrow, decreasing line length  Highlights this woman’s identity has been erased by anonymity, females lacking a control in their sense of selves  skull metaphor is used to show how the female knowledge is used but not celebrated – kept on a shelf, enforcing that the skull had something to ‘get off its chest’ portrays the frustration felt from the female perspective due to a lack of voice  The pen as a baton – female solidarity in an understanding of their shared experience  The Elizabethan phrase, “hey nonny”, is used at the end as a nonsensical addition to mimic the male perspective on the female voice, and perhaps that this is a continuing issue for centuries past  Finishing the poem with ‘Anon’ creates a cyclical structure, mirroring the ongoing issue of female writing not being taken seriously
  4. Loud  Throughout history women have been expected to be subdued, this poem depicts the reclamation of this voice in anger at the emotional disconnect between people in the news and those who watch it, overall ignorance, subverts the traditional expectation of the sexist notion of female submission  In the context of politics? The female voice largely ignored  No constant rhyme, internal rhyme moments which increase the speed of reading, acceleration goes alongside the explosive narrative voice, which comes to an abrupt / jarring close as each 5th line is shorter than the rest, this line is structurally different, representative of the female voice breaking free?  The cyclical structure, beginning and ending the poem with the news, may suggest instead that nothing has changed, there is no female voice – particularly in politics  This poem emphasises the power of the female voice in showing compassion for an unstable world
  5. White Writing  Exploring same sex marriage, autobiographical feel, CAD bisexual herself  Poem is an epithalamium – celebrates marriage  The oppression of the female voice is expanded through both females collectively being shunned by society  Repeated anaphora of ‘no’, infers an unacceptance of the female voice  ‘words on the wind’ – fleeting imagery, comparable to the lack of meaning and appreciation given to the female voice in society, in addition to the perception of the same-sex marriage in traditional society  She’s writing from the perspective of marginalisation in both her gender and sexuality, and the focus around the marriage mirrors the third wave of feminism – women aware of their use of language and compliance with gender constructs, leading to centralising of other identities outside of the heterosexual norm, written before the legalisation of gay marriage in 2015
  6. Gambler  Read through the poem  What are some of your first impressions and interpretations?  What imagery stands out to you?
  7. Gambler  Link between horse betting and writing, Duffy views words and ideas or poetry as a form of gambling, it may work or fail, perhaps especially for a woman, its more a gamble of success rather than being measured on talent  ‘Hyperion’s tips’ – reference to the figure of Hyperion in Greek mythology, known for being a governing voice of reason, in rejecting these tips, the female voice is placed as more important than this figure, importance of women in society?  Each stanza of the poem often ends with enjambment, this overrunning of the lines opposes the precarious nature of gambling, could be a reflection of the certainty of the woman deciding her own bets, disregarding the advice od men and relying on her own strategies  Including horse racing continues the theme of restructuring the male sphere to the female perspective, predominantly male sport, the prism of the female voice is used to rephrase this typically male environment as a metaphoric reflection of writing poetry – the literary field is dominated by males, the bets – picking the right form of words.  The enjambment also quickens the pace of the poem, mirroring the fast-passed atmosphere of the races, slowing only in the final stanza – internal rhyming achieves the same, and also draws emphasis to the importance of meter and syllable within poetry  Stanza 4 – in a trance = restrictions in what she can do, only sit and hope, male oppression? Repeatedly trying the same things over and over again?  Language is suggested to be important to the woman, who chooses the horses based on the names she likes, disregarding gambling strategies e.g the syllable balance of ‘Indian Nectar’ is more pleasing than the 7-2 odds on the horse  ‘Sits with her stump of a pen’ – emblematic of the voices of women being underrepresented in literature? Their abilities stumped by a society that does not value them?  ‘how can she lose?’, by creating poetry that is important to her, reflecting her own experience and opinions is important regardless of how it is received  A lot of the names she didn’t choose have female connotations, ‘Heiress’, ‘Shush’- expectations, ‘Birth’ = demonstrating her belief in their futility and inevitable failure of the female names – especially in literature?
  8. Light gatherer  Read through the poem  What are some of your first impressions and interpretations?  What imagery stands out to you?
  9. Light Gatherer  This poem is a celebration of motherhood, the happiness the child brings through light, consistent semantic pattern throughout, luxurious beautiful imagery attributed to her daughter, (context, this is about the birth of her daughter)  No regular rhyme scheme, internal rhyme used linking together different elements of the poem, bringing cohesion and creating a joyful, light hearted flow  Semantic field of light – connotations of happiness, lighting up her life gathering light brining into the world, metaphorically lighting up Duffy’s life  Enjambment- gives the poem a ‘free-flowing’ feel, reflects the personal joy of watching her daughter grow / coming into the world  The light ‘under your skin’, emphasises the sense that her daughter is the source of this light / joy, the growth imagery surrounding her daughter is representative of her physical growth and that of the light within her, it is only the beginning of this journey  Luxurious imagery used without – ‘when language came, it glittered like a rive’, as her daughter learned to speak her words exuded light as well, ‘silver, clever with fish’, the harmonious sounds of her daughters words  The importance of her daughter is paramount, every imagery returns to her daughters presence, the poem idolizes her, presenting the beauty of motherhood, the child ‘fell from a star’, almost angelic quality, religious connotations – links to the kissing of her feet, also religious imagery, holy, pure, to be worshipped  She returns to the image of age at the end of the poem which presents the growth of the child
  10. The Cord  Read through the poem  What are some of your first impressions and interpretations?  What imagery stands out to you?
  11. The Cord  This poem can be said to be a message from Duffy to her daughter as she grows older of their eternal connection, despite physical distances  The imagery of the cord itself represents the umbilical cord which ‘they’, the unfamiliar doctors, severed. In reality once the physical cord is cut it is gone, but the imagery of this being buried and kept safe is representative of the mental connection they will always share  This poem drawn upon the semantics of myth, between realism and fantasy, a nod to the age of her child? Their separation could be through age and moving away in the near future  Brutality in the first image through consonance of ‘c’, “cut the cord”, harsh penetrative sound, but the cord is buried somewhere of importance and mythical significance ‘the Great Forest’, deep care for her daughter  Ella’s changing perception of the cord herself as the poem progresses, first unsure if it is ‘real’, to deciding it is tangible and made of rope, deciding to go and find it, the moment the daughter is leaving home, caesura for significance ‘She went deeper.’  Following the bird – connotations of freedom, moving out into the world for her own experience, but the world is represented as dark and unfriendly, ‘one huge darkness’, despite this Duffy has to let her daughter go, but their connection and her mother’s guidance is clear to Ella, the stars were “her mother’s eyes”  Perhaps the ending referring to ‘a babies cry’ could suggest that this search for the cord was Ella’s progressing age, leading to discovering motherhood herself? Rather than finding and revealing this tangible cord in the forest she is seeking a mother connection to experience for herself, which she finds at the end?