Valentine: worksheet questions

Some questions on this poem by Duffy:

What are the qualities of this dramatic monologue?  What do you feel is conveyed about the nature of the persona?

Is the tone  aggressive, challenging, insistent or do you have another take on how the tone changes?

Note the second start after the central (structurally central too) idea of being truthful.

The poem shows the workings of a mind in its exploration of the nature of love and the considerable pain it brings.  The poet reveals the wryness that love should be so different from what one might expect.  How does the versification and use of free verse help to develop meaning?

Respond to the images e.g. one might say of the moon within brown paper that the romantic is hidden by the ordinary.  The sexual/sensuous ‘undressing of love’ also refers to discovering each other and suggests vulnerability as the layers are peeled away.  Find others.

At the heart of the onion is the foreboding possibility of marriage.  It is ‘lethal’ – will you never be free from it?  Consider the significance of the knife.


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