Carol Ann Duffy, Poetry


In the poem ‘The Map Woman’, Jean Ann Duffy uses the extended metaphor of a map being published on a women’s body to explore ideas adjacent hometowns, childhood and nostalgia. This is right away introduced inside the first range where the audience learns that ‘A woman’s skin was the map of the town in which she’d grown from a kid. ‘ In an attempt to hide her hometown in the world, the smoothness covers very little as much as possible as a result of shame she gets. This orgasms in her shedding her skin inside the second to last stanza. With this kind of a metaphor, certain symbolism is created in the mind of the reader, including that of a snake or perhaps of the human body. This could in the end be narrowed down into 3 main concepts, location, résolution and identity.

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The extended metaphor used in the poem permits Duffy to demonstrate how the female’s body as well as the map happen to be one in precisely the same. The radical language in stanza two links the anatomy of her physique with location of different features of her hometown, such as her statement that ‘her problematic veins [are] just like shadows under the lines with the map, the river a great artery’. Chinese used shows that like an ‘artery’ and a ‘vein’, the character needs this map plus the features of her town to be able to survive. This kind of idea that the smoothness relies on the map went on later inside the same stanza, where she instructs that ‘if you crossed the bridge by her left nip, took a left and a right, you would come to the graves. ‘ The format of this sentence along with the usage of the conditions ‘left’ and ‘right’, could be interpreted by the reader while the character providing directions. This kind of effect is usually further stressed by the poet, through the immediate address employed in words just like ‘you. ‘ This may be required for order for the reader to feel as though they are through this town and therefore can more closely connect with the main personality. The poet person not only advises to the reader that the lady needs the map intended for guidance, nevertheless also shows up as if the smoothness is marketing her hometown to them. Such ideas surrounding reliability however , comparison with the tone throughout the novel, which means that she would like to ignore this city as much as possible. Nevertheless , the reader questions this following the character will be able to remember various areas and streets in her hometown, such as ‘Nelson’, ‘Churchill’, ‘Kipling’ and ‘Milton. ‘ Such memory of most these different locations refers to the fact that the primary character is definitely homesick. The extended metaphor of the map on her skin reveals the character’s internal reliance and yearning on her hometown. When compared to the tone, the metaphor is usually able to disclose the inner discord she feels in regards to the attitudes this wounderful woman has towards her home.

This internal conflict concerns be portrayed through topics surrounding résolution and change, which are continually referenced throughout the poem. These topics are presented in the initially stanza in which the map is defined as a ‘birthmark, tattoo’. Quite a few are marks on the skin area that are everlasting however , the difference is in the trigger. Birthmarks are natural and from delivery, while people choose to include tattoos later on. With this in mind, someone may be able to understand the cause of this kind of map in various way. When it is interpreted like a ‘birthmark’, the smoothness may be planning to say how being delivered in this town automatically and indefinitely kept its mark on her. However if it is construed as a ‘tattoo’, the character could possibly be trying to suggest that the map was received through each of the experiences she gets had in her existence. Although it is definitely impossible to tell which one is a correct source, both are evenly efficient in showing the shortcoming the women must detach very little from her town. This effect is definitely further overstated through the use of sibilance and list of three to explain her tries to rid herself of those permanent markings, she ‘sponged, soaped, scrubbed’ at the map. Additionally , this kind of increases the rate of the composition and divulges the characters desperation to clear herself on this map. However are tips surrounding résolution, there are also suggestions surrounding modify throughout the poem but generally towards the end. Change depicted towards beginning of the poem is usually perceived just as terribly as permanence, as suggested by the 9th line which states the map grew ‘broad in the event she binged, thin the moment she slimmed. ‘ Even though the character improvements, it implies that she is helpless to the impact that her hometown is wearing her. Even so by the end in the poem, she states that her ‘new skin hardly showed a mark. ‘ The develop in this portion of the poem is definitely one of flexibility and style, as reflected by the notion of a ‘new skin. ‘ This shows how the poet uses the extended metaphor to explore and contrast the themes of permanence and alter to reflect the relationship the smoothness has with her hometown.

The change represented through the prolonged metaphor is usually heavily relevant to the rediscovery and change of identity in the main character. This kind of change is usually foreshadowed throughout the entire composition and is described in the form of imagery related to serpents. In the beginning in the poem, the character describes how a river is ‘snaking north’ and the ‘s’ sound developed through multiple examples of sibilance, such as ‘Showered’, ‘skin’, ‘street’ and ‘stand’, ‘strangers’, ‘steam’ all refer to snakes. Ideas about cyclicality, through terms such as ‘looped’ and ‘repeatedly’ in the seventh stanza, as well a expression in stanza one saying ‘a lika of where to end or get back or begin’ have connotations with snakes. This is because the poet can be alluding into a famous ancient symbol which represents “eternal return” called the ‘Ouroboros. ‘ The mark depicts a snake consuming its own end to represent the cycle of life, death and rebirth. This cyclical structure relates to the women mainly because it shows her repetition of her your life, emotions and experiences. This kind of also relates to the enthusiast dreams she has to get away from her town. The form from the poem likewise shows this kind of shift in identity. Instead of maintaining the ten series stanzas, inside the fourth previous stanza the poet changes it to a two range stanza. Following this stanza, the women begins to shed her epidermis. The character question’s ‘What was she looking for? ‘ inside the final stanza. The poet uses the rhetorical query in the final stanza showing the reader that although the map has changed, the ladies still hasn’t. The question almost invites the reader to see that although a person might change their very own environment, their particular identity will not ever change. This links back again with the imagery created by snake.

Overall, it is clear to the reader that like the map, the extended metaphor is utilized to further uncover the characteristics and disputes within the main character. The locations throughout the poem are more comfortable with help place the reader inside the position with the character, in order to garner sympathy for the down sides she has to face. The distinction between the permanence and change from the map associated with her id are used to demonstrate inability to flee the effects of days gone by. The expanded metaphor also allowed the poet to learn her own feelings regarding the life she has had plus the shame or fear she feels towards her own town. This makes the reader unquestionably sure that the extended metaphor is used to expose hidden emotions.

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