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Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy a summmary

Subject matter
The title tells you that the poem is a Valentine - a gift of love - but straight away, the poem makes it clear that it is not a normal type of Valentine: Not a red rose or a satin heart.

She gives her lover an onion as a sign of her love and the promised light that they could share.

She explains why the gift is so apt, using original romantic images.

She adds a note of caution - too much commitment could kill off their relationship (love can be lethal).

Language
If you look closely at the way language is used in the poem, you might notice:

The poet uses an extended metaphor: she writes about her relationship as if it was an onion. Look at these ideas: It will blind you with tears. (Relationships may cause people to be hurt.) Its platinum hoops shrink to a wedding ring. (An onion is platinum-coloured and is made up of rings.) Read the poem carefully and make a list of all the other aspects of an onion she highlights which can be compared to a love affair...

Posted by: Asare Mabel

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