Critical Essay - Duffy Poem 'Havisham' Watch

Bradatized
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Choose a poem which expresses a point of view you find disturbing. Explain what distubs you about the poet's point of view and discuss to what extent you are nevertheless able to admire the way the poem is written.

Carol Ann Duffy's poem 'Havisham' is a dramatic monologue written from the eyes of the infamous character Miss Havisham who is extracted from Dickens’s 'Great Expectations'. Miss Havisham is a very disturbing character for a number of different reasons conceived by the pain and hurt she has endured through out her life after being jilted at the altar many years before the poem is set. Through out Havisham we learn that there is more underlying problems to Havisham than what was once acknowledged. Hatred completely destroys Havisham and that instead of helping her to get revenge, it makes her worse which results in her hating all men.

In the first stanza of the poem, we immediately learn about Miss Havisham through her gritty honesty. She is expressing the pain of being jilted at the altar as she reveals her personal feelings of the man she was about to marry.
“Beloved sweetheart *******.”
Here we see Duffy opening the poem in an oxymoronic way. She uses this technique to entise us in to the poem and to emphasise the contrast of her hectic feelings towards her ex-lover. This is also a very controversial way of opening the poem, possibly throwing us in at the deep end right at the start to establish what type of person Havisham is and to prepare us for the roller-coaster ahead. 'Beloved' being the man she once loved, 'Sweetheart' a word we typically call our loved ones and '*******' an offensive swear word. All highly contrasting words which makes us feel disturbed as we enter the poem. This opening of the poem is very abrupt and it's almost as if we've walked in on Miss Havisham in the midst of a breakdown. It's also climatic, something in which we'd typically see at the end of a poem, building tension but controversially Duffy opens in this way to lead us in to the scheming mind set of Havisham.
“Not a day since then
I haven't wished him dead”
The more animalistic side of Havisham is apparent in these lines. The man she so loved, she is now wishing death upon. This conveys Havisham as a heartless and conniving person. To wish someone dead is disgustingly disturbing and not something someone of a normal state of mind would do, these ideas all conclude Miss Havisham as being very unpleasant.
“...ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with.”
This is one of the most alarming lines of the poem where repetition is present as Havisham is once again plotting more revenge on her ex-fiancé. Duffy's use of imagery is dark and torturous making it uncomfortable for us to read as we imagine the long, rough and ugly ropes strangling a man from the hands of a widow (Havisham). The fact that she wants to beset this man suggests that her hatred towards other men could be more widespread opening up the idea that Havisham may not just hate one man but many.
“Prayed for it so hard
I've got dark green pebbles for eyes.”
The colour green is typically associated with symbolisms of envy and this suggests that Miss Havisham is jealous of every happy person in the world. Her dreams of marrying a man were destroyed so she wants to eradicate everyone else’s happiness including everyone around her. The imagery Duffy has created provokes disturbing images of horror and something almost alien like about this deranged woman. One connotation of bright green is prosperity, Duffy uses 'Dark Green' which creates the oppositional effect that maybe Havisham is not prospering in life but instead she is envious and miserable to not only herself, but to others around her.

In the second stanza of the poem, Miss Havisham's erratic and lonely behaviour is continued.
“Whole days
in bed cawing Nooooo at the wall;”
Firstly, the word 'cawing' is very striking. Duffy is comparing Havisham to a crow crying out raucously. This is greatly effective because it helps to build Miss Havisham's demented characteristics as crows are seen to be Godess' of war and death. This line of the poem also paints a picture of Havisham lying in a bed lonely, perhaps without a man. It also emphasises the cruel reality of her life, emphasising the fact that she will never get over this. 'at the wall' suggests that Havisham is always surrounded by four walls and that she has always been reclusive since her wedding day.
“Love's
hate behind a white veil; a red balloon bursting
in my face.
Similarly to the beginning of the poem. Duffy opens the last stanza oxymoronicilly. 'Loves hate' are complete opposites of each other. Perhaps they are both on different stanzas to emphasise how different they are and to also express the confusion is Havisham's mind also emphasising Havsisham's hate for love but drive for revenge. 'white veil' obviously describing the veil that she's wearing, Duffy adding to the setting to create a wedding type atmosphere. The third stanza also opens with enjambment which is a technique used to create tension or to interest/attract the reader, breaking up lines to make the brain respond better to a poem. 'a red balloon bursting in my face' is however the most interesting line of the stanza opening many ideas for imagery. Balloons are typically associated with celebrations and parties, this creates the impression that Havishams celebration was destroyed like the burst balloon. It could also symbolise Havishams heart breaking and continuing to break. The idea of a balloon bursting in Havishams face is a very weird and disturbing though but this is one of the only points in the poem where we feel a slight empathy for Havisham.
“Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon.
Don't think it's the only heart that b-b-b-breaks.”
Duffy started off the poem in a very enticing and abrupt way, but she evidently ends the poem in a very disturbing way. 'Give me' is a very casual way of asking for something, understanding that Havisham is very rude. Havisham's psycho nature is also very present as she asks for a 'male corpse'. She is so affected by this man that she is asking for a dead corpse to take for 'long slow' honeymoon. For the third time, Duffy has used an oxymoronic technique, contrasting two different words. In the last line of the poem, the poet uses onomatopoeia disturbingly to mock the sound of a heartbeat or the heart slowly b-b-b-breaking in to pieces.

Through out the poem, Duffy has re-created the character that Dicken's began. Here, we get a more in-depth feeling to this very vulnerable and troubled woman. We follow her through a journey in which Duffy has created through the use of techniques being repeated, Oxymoronic being the most used technique, enjambment falling ever so slightly behind.
Duffy's simple but complicated imagery establishes the mind set of Miss Havisham and makes the reader disturbed and uncomfortable. By the end of the poem we feel drained but in a satisfying way.



CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR OPINION/CRITIQUE?!?!


Thankyou
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jaffamonster93
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Sounds Cool!!!!
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(Original post by Bradatized)
Choose a poem which expresses a point of view you find disturbing. Explain what distubs you about the poet's point of view and discuss to what extent you are nevertheless able to admire the way the poem is written.

Carol Ann Duffy's poem 'Havisham' is a dramatic monologue written from the eyes of the infamous character Miss Havisham who is extracted from Dickens’s 'Great Expectations'. Miss Havisham is a very disturbing character for a number of different reasons conceived by the pain and hurt she has endured through out her life after being jilted at the altar many years before the poem is set. Through out Havisham we learn that there is more underlying problems to Havisham than what was once acknowledged. Hatred completely destroys Havisham and that instead of helping her to get revenge, it makes her worse which results in her hating all men.

In the first stanza of the poem, we immediately learn about Miss Havisham through her gritty honesty. She is expressing the pain of being jilted at the altar as she reveals her personal feelings of the man she was about to marry.
“Beloved sweetheart *******.”
Here we see Duffy opening the poem in an oxymoronic way. She uses this technique to entise us in to the poem and to emphasise the contrast of her hectic feelings towards her ex-lover. This is also a very controversial way of opening the poem, possibly throwing us in at the deep end right at the start to establish what type of person Havisham is and to prepare us for the roller-coaster ahead. 'Beloved' being the man she once loved, 'Sweetheart' a word we typically call our loved ones and '*******' an offensive swear word. All highly contrasting words which makes us feel disturbed as we enter the poem. This opening of the poem is very abrupt and it's almost as if we've walked in on Miss Havisham in the midst of a breakdown. It's also climatic, something in which we'd typically see at the end of a poem, building tension but controversially Duffy opens in this way to lead us in to the scheming mind set of Havisham.
“Not a day since then
I haven't wished him dead”
The more animalistic side of Havisham is apparent in these lines. The man she so loved, she is now wishing death upon. This conveys Havisham as a heartless and conniving person. To wish someone dead is disgustingly disturbing and not something someone of a normal state of mind would do, these ideas all conclude Miss Havisham as being very unpleasant.
“...ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with.”
This is one of the most alarming lines of the poem where repetition is present as Havisham is once again plotting more revenge on her ex-fiancé. Duffy's use of imagery is dark and torturous making it uncomfortable for us to read as we imagine the long, rough and ugly ropes strangling a man from the hands of a widow (Havisham). The fact that she wants to beset this man suggests that her hatred towards other men could be more widespread opening up the idea that Havisham may not just hate one man but many.
“Prayed for it so hard
I've got dark green pebbles for eyes.”
The colour green is typically associated with symbolisms of envy and this suggests that Miss Havisham is jealous of every happy person in the world. Her dreams of marrying a man were destroyed so she wants to eradicate everyone else’s happiness including everyone around her. The imagery Duffy has created provokes disturbing images of horror and something almost alien like about this deranged woman. One connotation of bright green is prosperity, Duffy uses 'Dark Green' which creates the oppositional effect that maybe Havisham is not prospering in life but instead she is envious and miserable to not only herself, but to others around her.

In the second stanza of the poem, Miss Havisham's erratic and lonely behaviour is continued.
“Whole days
in bed cawing Nooooo at the wall;”
Firstly, the word 'cawing' is very striking. Duffy is comparing Havisham to a crow crying out raucously. This is greatly effective because it helps to build Miss Havisham's demented characteristics as crows are seen to be Godess' of war and death. This line of the poem also paints a picture of Havisham lying in a bed lonely, perhaps without a man. It also emphasises the cruel reality of her life, emphasising the fact that she will never get over this. 'at the wall' suggests that Havisham is always surrounded by four walls and that she has always been reclusive since her wedding day.
“Love's
hate behind a white veil; a red balloon bursting
in my face.
Similarly to the beginning of the poem. Duffy opens the last stanza oxymoronicilly. 'Loves hate' are complete opposites of each other. Perhaps they are both on different stanzas to emphasise how different they are and to also express the confusion is Havisham's mind also emphasising Havsisham's hate for love but drive for revenge. 'white veil' obviously describing the veil that she's wearing, Duffy adding to the setting to create a wedding type atmosphere. The third stanza also opens with enjambment which is a technique used to create tension or to interest/attract the reader, breaking up lines to make the brain respond better to a poem. 'a red balloon bursting in my face' is however the most interesting line of the stanza opening many ideas for imagery. Balloons are typically associated with celebrations and parties, this creates the impression that Havishams celebration was destroyed like the burst balloon. It could also symbolise Havishams heart breaking and continuing to break. The idea of a balloon bursting in Havishams face is a very weird and disturbing though but this is one of the only points in the poem where we feel a slight empathy for Havisham.
“Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon.
Don't think it's the only heart that b-b-b-breaks.”
Duffy started off the poem in a very enticing and abrupt way, but she evidently ends the poem in a very disturbing way. 'Give me' is a very casual way of asking for something, understanding that Havisham is very rude. Havisham's psycho nature is also very present as she asks for a 'male corpse'. She is so affected by this man that she is asking for a dead corpse to take for 'long slow' honeymoon. For the third time, Duffy has used an oxymoronic technique, contrasting two different words. In the last line of the poem, the poet uses onomatopoeia disturbingly to mock the sound of a heartbeat or the heart slowly b-b-b-breaking in to pieces.

Through out the poem, Duffy has re-created the character that Dicken's began. Here, we get a more in-depth feeling to this very vulnerable and troubled woman. We follow her through a journey in which Duffy has created through the use of techniques being repeated, Oxymoronic being the most used technique, enjambment falling ever so slightly behind.
Duffy's simple but complicated imagery establishes the mind set of Miss Havisham and makes the reader disturbed and uncomfortable. By the end of the poem we feel drained but in a satisfying way.



CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR OPINION/CRITIQUE?!?!


Thankyou
Use the term "intertextuality" to show your knowledge on Carol anne duffy using miss havisham from great expectations
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awkward_eskimo
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Lovely work, I'm also studying this poem and I often express that Duffy uses Miss Havisham to reflect her own personal views on love. The fact she recreates her as 'Havisham' and not 'Miss Havisham' proves that Duffy wants to make her eponomous character feel comfortable rather than live knowing she is not worthy of marriage.
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omg it is really good!
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Sooooo stupid
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TNG58
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Thank you! This was really helpful!
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JamesSmith123
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Shreeya is the best and bhigita loves mr.wilcox.
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jamesg2
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You asked for critiques of your essay.
The most important point I would take issue with is:-
You do notaddress the question set. You were asked to Choose a poem which expresses a point of view you find disturbing. Explain what disturbs you about the poet's point of view and discuss to what extent you are nevertheless able to admire the way the poem is written.”

There are three parts to this question:
a) What isthe point of view expressed by Carol Ann Duffy in this poem that you find disturbing?
b) What isit about her point of view that disturbs you?
c) What isit about the way Carol Ann Duffy writesthis poem that you admire?

Essentially your essay has two sections. Parts “b)” and “c)”: part “a)” is your introductory paragraph.

Although Iwould award a pass, it would be a minimal pass. Effectively you have ignored the question. In many parts of your essay, what you do write has nothing to do with the question you were set.

Through what you have written it is very clear you have a clear understanding of the poem and had what you have written - been directed at the question set - you would have achieved a high grade.

Sorry to “rain on your parade” but I feel this is something you need to be aware of.
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(Original post by jamesg2)
You asked for critiques of your essay.
3 years too late with critique. Someone should really close this thread.
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jem.levine
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Hey I know this post is a little old but I'm doing the same kind of essay right now and this has been super helpful so thanks. You did a great job
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