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Extracts from this document Introduction. February LLB (hons) Full time; Year One. (See separate sheet for full page of references) Tort Coursework;.

In this poem, Duffy adopts the voice of a bored young man who tells us about his exploits stealing.

Stealing and Mrs Tilchers Class Carol Ann Duffy Essay

This speaking a poem in the voice of a character is called a 'dramatic monologue'. If this poem was a speech from a play how would you imagine this character to look, how would he act, what would he do? The character tells us the things he steals and his motivation for stealing. He tells what he does with the stolen goods and the thrill he gets from stealing. The theft of the snowman is pointless, mindless and cruel.

Higher English / GCSE Critical Essay on Carol Ann Duffy's 'Stealing' Poem

The thief actually enjoys the thrill of 'knowing that children would cry in the morning'. On the other hand, it is just a stupid, and fairly harmless prank, that you could imagine lots of people doing, or thinking of doing, given the right circumstances. As well as condemning his actions, we may feel some sympathy for this rather lost character.

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Certainly Duffy seems to want us to feel a little uneasy about, and perhaps responsible for, this juvenile delinquent. The following table shows us what we can tell about this young man from the poem He's become bitter and hardened. He thinks he's tough. He's alone with nowhere to go.

First Stanza

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Carol Ann Duffy — Stealing Analysis In the opening stanza we are introduced to the speaker a conversation is established. A snowman. He looked magnificent; a tall, white mute beneath the winter moon. I wanted him a mate. We begin to wonder who the persona could be speaking to, other than the reader, and it becomes clear that there is something childlike and lonely about the character.

The minor sentence serves to shock the reader as we did not expect the answer to be a snowman. The mere fact that he steals a snowman, something typically associated with children and joy, insinuates that this is something lacking form his own life. The minor sentence however, has darker connotations. This bold line stands out and helps to remind us that our speaker is a criminal as midnight is a time associated with crime and danger.

The speaker appears to be in awe of the snowman and there is a strong contrast between the brilliant, dazzling white of the snowman and the darkness of the setting.

Stealing- Carol Ann Duffy Essay Example

The internal rhyme and assonance in this line creates a slow melodic sound, which adds to the sinister comparison. By comparing himself to an inanimate object we are shows his lack of compassion but also illustrates how lonely he must be. Snowmen are associated with happy children spending time building them. The fact that our thief robs them of their creation shows his jealousy. He is pleased because he knows there will be suffering. Duffy effectively creates a very thought provoking character as we are exposed to his complex nature and attempt to determine why he is so sinister, isolated and cold hearted.

In stanza three, the persona admits that he steals for no particular reason. His robberies are pointless. He is clearly disaffected and isolated from society. The fact that he breaks into houses just to look also peaks our interest. We question what he is looking for.


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  • This is clever in many ways. Firstly, it suggests he is unseen during these break-ins and that he leaves a mess or causes destruction, simply to cause pain to others. However, it also directly relates to how the persona envisages himself: he does not see himself as a living thing.

    Rather, he thinks of himself as a dead spirit, haunting the lives of others. The poem is about a person who has nothing to live for, because of this they have fallen into a life of stealing items that are worthless and have no sentimental meaning to them, the thief steals simply because they and get a thrill out of doing so this particular poem is about the stealing of a snowman.

    However the belongings do not have significant value. Her use of tone, imagery and diction that occurs in the poem all help to convey the themes to the audience more thoroughly and make them more apparent and therefor helping one to appreciate and understand the true themes of the poem. The exploration of the themes loneliness and isolation are portrayed in Stealing through a number of different ways, one in which is through the use of imagery. Imagery is a key element to the poem and is conveyed in an assorted of unique ways. The use of the word mucky evokes that he leaves a mess behind him and is uncaring for other people and their property indicating that he does not have any friends or family that would suffer from him participating in these high- risk behaviours and getting caught and prosecuted.

    The tone that Duffy uses in Stealing plays an important role in my appreciation of the themes in Stealing. This is because the tone that the poem creates shows me that the Duffy was trying to say and how the audience perceives it. The tone changes throughout Stealing, this is because it is written as someone would talk and as you know the tone without a conversation changes depending on what is being said. These specific words and phrases that Duffy has used have helped me deepen my understanding of the themes because they are associated and link to the themes generally quite directly.

    Lastly the diction in Stealing is all very simple and easy to comprehend.