Essay, Valentine Carol Ann Duffy

The poem Valentine is written by Carol Ann Duffy. Throughout the Poem she shows the positive and negative sides about love by comparing love to an onion. She does this by using different techniques such as language features such as metaphors, simlies, Imagery and word structure. All these techniques make it interesting because she uses an onion as a girft to represent love and relationships.

In the begining of the poem Duffy starts off with a negative in opening line. “Not a red rose or a satin heart’.

She tries to tell her Valentine to not expect anything romantic. This is telling the reader that it is not somthing sweet, romantic or taditional gift but something unique and original. Then in the following lines she sets out why and onion is a good gift. Duffy then uses a metaphor “It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light like the careful undressing of love’.

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The ‘brown paper’ is the outside of the onion that hides the white vegetable inside.

This brown skin is the wrapping paper of the gift, the onion.

Duffy compares her gift, the onion, to the moon being wrapped in brown paper. This picture of the moon represents the whole onion, just afger it has been peeled. The words “it promises light’ give a positive conntation meaning the moons ‘light’ represents love like a new start and begining of a relationship. Moonlight often provides a romantic setting. The peeling of the onion is also like two people taking off each other clothes before they make love “like the careful undressing of love’.

THe different layers of the onion are like the layers of someones discovering the layers in a relationship. Therefore Duffy begins the poeam with a negative conatation and a positive connatation about the onion befoere giving it to her Valentine. In the second stanza of the second line a similie is used “It will blind you with tears like a lover’. To show that onions will make you cry and make you blind of the pain and that love can do the same thing to a person. This shows that she is giving her partner an onion because love can be beautiful but can also cause pain and upset.

She then relates it too “your reflection is a wobbing grief”. Duffy relates this quote to one quote from the other stanza before “undressing love’. Here a metaphor has been used. A ” wobbling photo of grief is compared to a mirror. “wobbling’ refers to photo which has become blurred from the tears created by the onion.When you look at a photo with tears it doesnt give a real image to that photo but a blurred or wobbling image. Also when you begin to “undress’ (discover) when you make love it can also cause you grief. This stanza shows that onions can make you cry and feel pain like love does and a good language feature has been use to help describe the aspects of the onion.

Duffy then laters combines these quotes and makes a last stanza that gives more negative connatations towards the end. Duffy demands that her lover takes her gift ” Take it’. She then talks about marriage ” Its platnium loops shrink to a wedding ring, if you like” She suggests that the bright white layers of the onion are relationships and rings. Duffy imagines that the ring is made out of white valuable metal, platnium.

She tries to tell us that the smaller the rings get the more chance of marriage increases but however if somthings ” shrinks’ it becomes less valuable and more restrictive and perhaps somthing at the end of the relationship. Duffy thinks marriage is like a knife ” Its scent will cling to you fingers, cling to your knife.’ The word “knife’ links marriage to a wound, and that Duffy may have been hurt in previous relationships. This shows a negative view of love and that someone had a knife and may have ended the relationship.”

Cling’ has been repeated twice, Even if one brakes up with partner the scent or the thought will be clinged to your mind , like the smell of the onion on knife after its been washed. Therefore Duffy finishs the poeam with a negative connatation and tells us that onions do have simliarities as a ring or relationships. In conclusion Duffy shows her feelings about love in positive and negative connatations throughtout the poem by using different techinques to show how intresting this poem is when comparing love to an onion. And how the reader of this poem should understand why she thought an onion was a good choice as a gift by being original and unique.

Cite this page

Essay, Valentine Carol Ann Duffy. (2016, May 16). Retrieved from

Essay, Valentine Carol Ann Duffy
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