Compare the representation of relationships in the poems

Categories: PoemsRelationship

Compare the representation of relationships in the poems ‘Text’, ‘Forest’, ‘Row’ and ‘Quickdraw’: Rapture is Carol Ann Duffy’s chronological recollection of a previous relationship which lasted 52 weeks; hence the book consisting of 52 poems. The first of the poems stated is ‘Text’ which represents the birth of the relationship as Carol and her lover text each other ‘significant words’.

The poem ‘Forest’ marks the relationship’s transcendence into intimacy as the poem ‘Row’ illustrates the rocky patches of the relationship in which they have an argument and ‘Quickdraw’ is the aftermath of their anger towards each other which leads to a period of dormancy.

The language used in the poems represents the stage in which the relationship is in during the week it correlates with. Repetition emphasises the stage in which the relationship has developed.

‘Text’ uses the repetition of ‘text, text, text’ to illustrate the almost obsession Carol develops as the relationship progresses. Forest uses the repetition of “Kissed, kissed” to emphasise the intimate undertone of the poem, whereas ‘Row’ repeats the words “no kiss, no kiss”; reflecting the deterioration of their relationship as the word ‘kiss’ becomes a symbol of togetherness throughout the book.

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Duffy uses semantic field of nature in ‘Forest’ to reiterate how she feels the relationships progression involving intimacy was as natural to her as “rough bark” or the “loam on [her] bare feet”. The earthen language used such as “the perfume of soil” could be interpreted as Duffy’s appreciation for the world’s beauty heightening after the intimacy she experienced with her lover, represented by the juxtaposition of the words “perfume” and “soil”.

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Another example would be the description of moon light as “the moon [‘s]…shimmering cloth”.

‘Row’ represents the shift in their relationship from passion and happiness, to the explosiveness of an argument they have. Duffy uses the repetition of the conjunctive “But” to prevent the counterfeiting of a perfect relationship; there were obstacles in her love story also. In ‘Quickdraw’ the extended metaphor of a Western ‘show down’ is used to illustrate the emotional combat between the couple as they text each other after an argument. The semantic field of western cowboy-eque dual is used with “high-noon”, “Last Chance Saloon” and “Sheriff”.

This displays the chaotic state of the relationship as the hyperbole of comparing their argument to a dual to the death, using their mobiles as “guns”, emphasises the “calamity” of the situation. There is also a direct contrast to the poem ‘Text’ in which the mobile phone is tended by Duffy as “an injured bird”, a mechanism of communicating her love to her girlfriend; whereas in ‘Quickdraw’, the mobile phone is used as a weapon of hatred, used to deliver “the silver bullets of your (her lover’s) kiss”.

There is also repetition in ‘Quickdraw’; “take this…and this…and this” reiterating the hurt Duffy experiences when she texts her as she describes it as the receiving of continuous physical blows. Imagery is used rigorously in Rapture to at times exaggerate the state of the relationship but in other times, it is used to symbolise certain aspects of the relationship, an example being passion. One could argue that the continuous reference to rivers and water in the series of poems symbolises the passion in the relationship.

In ‘Forest’, Duffy uses the imagery of water as an innuendo for the relationship strengthening through sex; “You stood, waist deep, in a stream, pulling me in”. Her lover seducing her is described as her “pulling me (Duffy) in”, which could represent the relationship’s growth as she trusts her lover enough to take this leap of faith, “…and so I swam” and allow the relationship to get intimate. The use of water as a motif for passion is again repeated in the poem ‘Row’; “But when we rowed, the room swayed and sank down on its knees”.

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Compare the representation of relationships in the poems. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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