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Mean Time by Carol Ann Duffy Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By holliew
Words 568
Pages 3
PEAK sentences
Key terms: the end of a relationship
Form and Structure:
Mean Times is four quatrains consisting of short lines mainly between 4 and 6 syllables which creates a staccato effect, perhaps reflecting the footsteps of the speakers as they walk which suggests acceptance of the end of the relationship as it shows that the speaker is moving on and progressing forward.
It is an interior monologue which makes a direct address to a loved one shown through the use of pronouns “I”, “you” and “our” and also the very personal details such as the speaker feeling her “heart gnaw” which reflects the heartbreak felt at the end of a relationship.
Short sentences and monosyllables such as the line “the clocks slid back an hour”, convey flatness and the finality of the end of the relationship. Duffy accentuates this by using varied line lengths with a longer third line in each stanza which then highlights the shorter fourth line that follows such as “nor have heard you say.”
Language and Imagery:
Duffy uses a deliberately ambiguous title as it personifies time as being miserly as the time for this relationship has run out which reflects the sadness felt at the end of a relationship and the typical feeling that if it had more time, it could be saved and the title also suggests an interim period before an important event which is essentially what this poem is as it presents the thoughts of the speaker before finalising the end of a relationship which shows the significance of this event.
Duffy explores the self-recrimination felt at the end of a relationship through the metaphor “heart gnaw” which personifies the heart and suggests it is unable the forget about the relationship, reflecting the lingering pain and guilt the speaker feels as she relives her mistakes.
Duffy also uses the juxtaposition of light and dark images such as…...

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