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The Diet Carol Ann Duffy. The Diet .

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Presentation Transcript
the diet
The Diet

The diet worked like a dream. No sugar,salt, dairy, fat, protein, starch or alcohol.By the end of week one, she was half a stoneshy of ten and shrinking, skipping breakfast,lunch, dinner, thinner; a fortnight in, she waseight stone; by the end of the month, she was skinand bone.She starved on, stayed in, stared inthe mirror, svelter, slimmer. The last appleaged in the fruit bowl, untouched. The skimmed milksoured in the fridge, unsupped. Her skeleton preenedunder its tight flesh dress. She was all eyes,all cheekbones, had guns for hips. Not a stitchin the wardrobe fitted.

What passed her lips? Air,water. She was Anorexia's true daughter, a slipof a girl, a shadow, dwindling away. One day,the width of a stick, she started to grow smaller - ~child-sized, doll-sized, the height of a thimble.She sat at her open window and the windblew her away.Seed small, she was out and about,looking for home. An empty beer bottle rolledin the gutter. She crawled in, got drunk on the dregs,started to sing, down, out, nobody's love. Tiny othersjoined in. They raved all night. She woke alone,head splitting, mouth dry, hungry and cold, and madefor the light.


She found she could fly on the wind,could breathe, if it rained, underwater. That night,she went to a hotel bar that she knew and floated intothe barman's eye. She slept for hours, left at dawnin a blink, in a wink, drifted away on a breeze.Minute, she could suit herself from here on in, gowhere she pleased.She stayed near people,lay in the tent of a nostril like a germ, dwelledin the caves of an ear. She lived in a tear, swamclear, moved south to a mouth, kipped in the chapof a lip. She loved flesh and blood, wallowedin mud under fingernails, dossed in a fold of faton a waist.

But when she squatted the tip of a tongue,she was gulped, swallowed, sent down the hatchin a river of wine, bottoms up, cheers, fetched upin a stomach just before lunch. She crouchedin the lining, hearing the avalanche munch of food,then it was carrots, peas, courgettes, potatoes,gravy and meat.Then it was sweet. Then it was stilton,roquefort, weisslacker-kase, gex; it was smoked salmonwith scrambled eggs, hot boiled ham, plum flan, frogs'legs. She knew where she was all right, clamberedonto the greasy breast of a goose, opened wide, thenchomped and chewed and gorged; inside the Fat Woman now,trying to get out.

  • 8 stanzas
  • 7 lines
  • No rhyme scheme
  • Rhyming within lines
  • Enumeration
  • Parallelism
meaning of poem
Meaning of poem

Anorexic woman struggling with her identity

Speaker: Third person

Tone: Mocking

Audience: Female(Adolescent, young adult)

Occasion: Personal experience with diets.

Pupose: To stress people and identity. (especially woman)

important ideas
Important ideas


  • Struggling with identification

“She could fly on wind,”

  • Conforming to society

“She stayed near people”

  • Anorexia and self- deterioration

“had guns for hips”

sound devices
Sound Devices
  • Alliteration Repeated use of s-sound

(“She starved on, stayed in, stared in the mirror… svelter, slimmer”)

Effect: emphasis on skinny, sharp tone.

  • Enumeration

(“carrots, peas, courgettes, potatoes,gravy and meat.” “Then it was stilton,roquefort, weisslacker-kase, gex; it was smoked salmon, with scrambled eggs, hot boiled ham, plum flan, frogs‘ legs)

Effect: Loss of control of one self.

  • Internal Rhyme

(“shrinking, skiping” “dinner, thinner” “chap of a lip”)

Effect: Emphasis on skinny


Minor metaphors

  • “Guns for hips”

Effect: Anorexia is life-threatning.

  • “kipped in the chap of a lip,” “like a germ” “Seed small” “wallowed/ in mud under fingernails” “a slip of a girl, shadow”

Effect: Her weak personality(minor presense)

Conforming to society

extended metaphor
Extended Metaphor
  • Fat Woman

“Sent down the hatch in a river of wine”

“She crouched in the lining, hearing the avalanch munch of food…”

“Inside the Fat Woman now,/ trying to get out.”


Loss of control

Inability to pick her own identity

  • Wind

“the wind/ blew her away”

“She found she could fly on the wind”

“She knew and floated into the barman’s eye”

“drifted away on a breeze,”


Her lack of impact on people around her

Lack of identity

figurative devices
Figurative devices
  • Imagery(Gustatory)

“stilton,/roquefort, weisslacker-kase, gex; it was smoked salmonwith scrambled eggs, hot boiled ham, plum flan, frogs‘/legs”

Effect: Loss of control


  • Hyperbole

“the avalanche munch of food,”

“she started to grow smaller - ~child-sized, doll-sized, the height of a thimble”

“the width of a stick,”

Effect: Her personality is becoming smaller

Extreme transition from one identity to another.

discussion questions
Discussion questions
  • How has society distorted the self image of people?
  • In what way can the poem apply to men also?