Carol Ann Duffy Poems Analysis Essay

8149 Words Mar 10th, 2013 33 Pages
Originally Introduction
Memories play a significant role in the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, particularly her recollections of childhood places and events. The poem “Originally,” published in The Other Country (1990), draws specifically from memories of Duffy's family's move from Scotland to England when she and her siblings were very young. The first-born child, Duffy was just old enough to feel a deep sense of personal loss and fear as she traveled farther and farther away from the only place she had known as “home” and the family neared its alien destination. This sentiment is captured in “Originally,” in which it is described in the rich detail and defining language of both the child who has had the experience and the adult who recalls
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The fact that living in a foreign culture is something that is not easy to get used to is emphasised in the opening line of the poem. Despite living in a city for 'twenty years' it remains 'strange'. The immigrant is aware of his or her own 'foreign accent' as it sounds to others. The strain of thinking in one language and having to translate into the speech of another cannot always be sustained and this is sensitively pointed out through the physical detail in the final stanza: 'And in the delicatessen, from time to time, the coins / in your palm will not translate.' The breakdown in communication in an everyday, exposed transactional situation is intensified through the words 'Inarticulate' and 'point'.
Duffy's empathic feeling for such people is further expressed in her presentation of other actions such as 'writing home', a way of maintaining contact with others of the same culture. The 'local dialect' in the immigrant's 'head' is coupled with the memory of his or her mother singing. These are details with which any sympathetic person might identify and throw into sharp relief the actual experience of seeing racist graffiti 'sprayed in red' (line 12). Duffy's use of the simile, 'Red like blood' to describe the paint is effective because of its monosyllabic directness of observation. It also resonates with a famous and terrible speech given by the Conservative politician Enoch Powell who, on 20th April 1968 warned

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