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Commentary On Stealing By Carol Ann Duffy

622 words - 3 pages

Why would anyone steal a snowman in the middle of the night? While the vast majority of people would think it would be cruel to do that to the children who built it, the narrator in ‘Stealing’ by Carol Ann Duffy doesn’t seem to care. This poem, a dramatic monologue, reveals a narrator who seems isolated and disturbed. A picture of the narrator is built up through visual imagery, an informal style and tone of voice.

The narrator is a delinquent who has stolen cars and broken into homes. In this monologue, the narrator focuses upon the time he/she stole a snowman because of the way it looked. The narrator was attracted by it because he describes the snowman vividly as ‘magnificent…a tall white mute’ (line 2) in the darkness of the night. However, when the narrator tried to reassemble the snowman in his ...view middle of the document...

It starts abruptly with a question “The most unusual thing I ever stole?’ (line 1) which seems like repetition of someone else’s question. It also uses colloquial phrases and ends with ‘You don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you? (line 25) It also seems as if the narrator is speaking because in some stanzas there is a sudden switch to another topic. For example, in the third and fifth stanzas the narrator suddenly shifts away from the snowman story and begins to talk about his or her other crimes as well as how he/she feels. It is as if the narrator has not planned what to say. The reader can recognize that there is an informal style and wonders who it is that the narrator is talking to as well as about who the narrator is. It seems as if the narrator is talking to someone specific like a teacher or social worker, but it could be that he’s talking to anyone who has never stolen anything, to ‘normal’ people.

The tone of voice used by the narrator gives the impression that he/she is disturbed. The narrator seems uncaring when he/she says ‘Part of the thrill would know/that children would cry in the morning’ (lines 9/10). He/She also seems bored and depressed because of the lines ‘Mostly I’m so bored I could eat myself’ (line 21) and ‘ sick of the world’ (line 20). There is a sense that the narrator is isolated as there is no mention of friends or family. He/She seems to believes no one can understand his/her actions and perspectives because the last line states ‘You don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you?’ (line 25) Overall, the monologue presents a narrator who is complicated, unpredictable and remorseless.

In conclusion, Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem with an unusual narrator who is explaining why he/she steals and how he/she feels. Through the use of carefully selected imagery, informal language style and tone of voice, Duffy presents a lonely, complicated figure.

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