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Demeter

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  1. Demeter By Carol Ann Duffy

  2. Context • Demeter is the last poem from the collection • It is the first poem where there are no men present • This poem portrays the relationship of mothers and daughters • Carol Ann Duffy • Mother • Feminist

  3. The Myth

  4. Demeter Where I lived – winter and hard earth. 1 I sat in my cold stone room Choosing tough words, granite, flint, To break the ice. My broken heart – I tried that, but it skimmed, 5 Flat, over the frozen lake. She came from a long, long way, But I saw her at last, walking, My daughter, my girl, across the fields, In bare feet, bringing all spring’s flowers To her mother’s house. I swear 10 The air softened and warmed as she moved, The blue sky smiling, none too soon, With the small shy mouth of a new moon. 14

  5. Markup

  6. Form • 4 tercets and ends with a rhyming couplet • Is not a traditional Sonnet because it’s structure would be quartet • Each line has from 5-7 syllables • Internal rhyme with “bare, air, swear”

  7. Literal Meaning • Demeter addresses her daughter and herself • A Mother in grieving the loss of her daughter and the setting is winter: cold, sorrowful, stiff • She misses her daughter and feels hopeless without her • Spring comes back as the daughter returns while bringing all the flowers home, enlightening Demeter • Dramatic Monologue • Allusion to mythology

  8. Figurative Meaning & Ideas • Demeter is devastated by the loss of her daughter • Sorrow, grief and mourning • She freezes from the inside out • The love between mother and daughter

  9. Personification & Figurative Language • “…blue sky smiling…” • “…small shy mouth of a new moon…” • “Choosing tough words, granite, flint, To break the ice” • “My broken heart” • “it skimmed flat, over the frozen lake” • “bringing all spring’s flowers”

  10. Imagery • “I sat in my cold stone room choosing tough words, granite, flint, to break the ice.” • “My broken-heart I tried that, but it skimmed, flat …” • “…in bare feet, bringing all spring’s flowers…” • “…the air softened and warmed as she moved…” • “…with the small shy mouth of a new moon…”

  11. Juxtaposition • Dramatic transition • Allusion to the myth • Before the daughter arrives – Serious, sorrowful, and gloomy tone • “Winter and hard earth” • “I sat in my cold stone room” • “My broken heart…” • When the daughter walks home – Joyful, appreciative, proud, and excited tone • “My daughter, my girl.” • “…Bringing all spring’s flowers to her mother’s house.” • “…blue sky smiling…” • “…Shy mouth of a new moon.”

  12. Discussion Questions • Carol Ann Duffy has been criticized for having a daughter with no fatherly figure; do you think this is a fair judgment? Do you think it is problematic for a child to be brought with a parent of one gender? • Think of the poem as a portrayal of a divorce mother with a daughter that spends part time with her mother and part time with her father, do you think this poem effectively illustrates the feeling when she doesn’t get to see her daughter and the excitement when she does? How and why?

  13. Bibliography • http://www.sheerpoetry.co.uk/advanced/carol-ann-duffy/demeter • http://tusitala.org.uk/essayLibrary/demeter.pdf • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0936501/