Analysis Of The Worlds Wife By Carol Ann Duffy

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The poem Penelope belongs of the poem collection ‘The Worlds Wife’ by the Scottish poet Carol Ann Duffy. The collection was first published in 1999. Penelope draws on the story of Odysseus, the mythological hero, who leaves his home Ithaca to go to war in Troy. Meanwhile his wife Penelope remains at home. Duffy uses these mythological characters for a poem, that is rich of different text worlds. Especially the different worlds that are portrayed within the poem itself are strongly connected to each other: Penelope’s embroidery represents her life and her personal development. Furthermore, Duffy plays with the expectation of the reader by using an already known mythological character to create a new and different version of this character. …show more content…
While the discourse world is participant accessible and, like Stockwell correctly states, ‘prototypically involving face-to-face participants’ (Stockwell 2002: 136), the text world, in contrast, is only accessible for the enactors and not for the reader. The time of the discourse world is the present and its enactors are the author Carol Ann Duffy and the reader The text world is set in a mythological world and contains world building elements, which ‘constitute the background against which the foreground events will take place.’ (Stockwell 2002: 137). Therefore, it is evident, that the world-building elements are defined as time, location, characters and objects. In this poem, these elements are the following ones: the time of the text world is the past, the simple present is used. There are two locations: the road, on which Penelope hopes to see her husband coming home as and an unspecified one, probably Penelope’s house. The objects are olive trees, dog, cloth, scissors, threads, thimble, embroidery, needle’s fish, scarlet thread and needle’s eye. The enactors are Penelope, Odysseus and the suitors, which are described as ‘the others’ in line 28. Another part of the text world are function-advancing propositions. The purpose of these …show more content…
Coming back to Penelope, an expression of hope can be found in the second line: Penelope is hoping to see her husband ‘saunter home’ (line 2). During this six months of waiting, she does not notice how much time passes until a certain point in the first stanza, when she finally begins to notice. At this we can find a perception modal world, since there is a proposition describing Penelope’s perception: ‘and then I noticed that whole days has passed.’ (line 7) However, the is a turning point can finally be found in the ninth line, when she starts to sort her scissors, needles and threads. Here is the beginning of another text world. The objects of this world are scissors, needle and thread. The location is unspecified and the time is set at a certain point in the past after the six months of waiting for Odysseus. There is also durative component: What is at first intended to be a way of distracting, begins to be a ‘lifetime’s industry’ (line 11) for Penelope. When she starts to sew a girl and later a maiden and boy, another text world begins. The time of this world is set at a certain, though not specified point in the past and its only enactor is Penelope. The objects are star, cross-stitch, snapdragon, bee, tree, thimble,

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