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poetry - example essay

This is a first poetry essay written by a Year Ten student.

An Analysis of Caroline Ann Duffy's Poem, ' Stealing'

The poem opens as if the reader has joined in the middle of a conversation or confession from a thief. The narrator tells how he has just stolen a snowman in order to make the children who built it feel as lonely as he does. In the first stanza the writer shows what the thief is like and how lonely he or she is:

'I wanted him, a mate with a mind as cold as the slice of ice within my own brain' . I think that by using the words, ' I wanted him, a mate...'

Duffy is trying to show through using this obviously conversational style that thief is lonely to make us think that he is all-alone and to make us sympathise more because none of us likes to feel lonely. The use of the powerful words ' a mind as cold as the slice of ice within my own brain' , makes me think that the narrator is trying to establish how ' hard' he is: the snowman is as cold and as nasty and bitter as he is himself. Yet it is only a snowman, after all.

The second stanza is about how the thief tries to take apart the snowman and also how desperate he is to carry out the task:

'Better off dead than giving in, not taking what you want' .

I think that this quotation is used just to assure the reader how desperate he is. Also within this stanza the writer goes about showing that the thief has an incredibly twisted view of life:

'Part of the thrill was knowing that the children would cry in the morning' .

I think that Duffy wrote this because she wanted to show that the thief was behaving in this strange way because he wanted the children to feel how he had been treated in his own life, to make others experience the loneliness that he feels day after day. The third stanza shows us that the thief is a criminal because the writer describes him leaving a trail of destruction after he breaks in to a house:

'I'm a mucky ghost, leave a mess' .

This style of language helps the reader to realise that the thief is young, as well as lonely and bored. The writer also uses descriptive language:

'I watch my gloved hand twisting the doorknob. A stranger's bedroom. Mirrors. I sigh like this - Aah.'

This produces an image in my mind, something like a film - as if the thief is living in a dream world because of his loneliness and boredom.

In the fourth stanza, he tries to reassemble the snowman but because he can't he destroys it - he is more able to destroy than create and because he can't build a snowman, he destroys it to take his anger out on life - he says he is ' sick of the world' . This makes the readers think that he has been through enough in life and it was probably mostly bad towards him.

In the final stanza the writer shows us that the thief has tried many different things to try and succeed in life but it just never worked out. By the use of ' you don't understand a word I'm saying do you?' the writer maybe wants us to reflect on how the thief feels and perhaps to consider that society doesn't try hard enough to listen properly to such people.

In conclusion I think that Caroline Ann Duffy succeeds with her poem. I think that her objective was to show us what it is like for some people to be alone in life and what people on the streets can do when they have nobody to turn to.

� Kamran Kalia 2001