National 5 – Duffy Questions

Notes from class:



  • “Beloved sweetheart bastard”
  • Use of oxymoron
  • Aggressive language of “bastard” catches your attention.
  • The opening is unexpected, revealing the writer’s conflicted feelings.



  • “I stink and remember” – She cannot move on with her life.
  • “A red balloon bursting” – symbol of celebration has been destroyed.
  • “I stabbed at a wedding cake” – Shows the anger she felt when she was jilted.
  • “whole days in bed cawing nooooo at the wall” – she is dehumanised by her grief.



  • “not a day since then I haven’t wished him dead” – she wants to kill the man who left her.
  • “ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with” – she is obsessed with killing him.
  • “I stabbed at a wedding cake” – anger directed at a symbol of marriage.



  • “hole days in bed cawing noooo at the wall” – “cawing” – animalistic noise, shows she is less than human.
  • “puce curses that are sounds, not words” – “sounds, not words” – she cannot form words because she is so grief-stricken.



  • “b-b-b-breaks” – The stuttering sound shows that love can drive you mad.
  • “don’t think it’s only the heart” – the mind can be affected by love, too.





  • In Havisham, the love has been turned to bitter hatred, which is unexpected.
  • In Valentine Duffy avoids all romantic clichés to produce a surprising
  • In Anne Hathaway, Duffy compares love to the act of imaginative writing, which is unusual.




  • “Beloved sweetheart bastard” – Oxymoron – The line expresses the contrasting feelings the character has.
  • By expressing love and hate the reader is taken by surprise.




  • “Not a red rose or a satin heart” – The writer refuses to use clichés about romance.
  • This is surprising in a valentine’s poem.
  • “I give you an onion” – Duffy gives an object which is not at all romantic.
  • This proves she is trying to be original/ surprising.


Anne Hathaway


  • “Item I gyve unto my wife my second best bed.”
  • This is unexpected because a reader would expect a wife to be left the best bed.
  • This item has romantic connotations.