"Stealing" by Carol Ann Duffy

In: English and Literature

Submitted By MollyL
Words 1655
Pages 7
The poem “stealing” by Carol Ann Duffy is one of the most interesting poems I have ever read. It is about a common thief who steals objects with no great value, for example a snowman. You never know the thief’s gender or his or her name and this adds an air of mystery. Throughout the poem you feel no sympathy towards him. He takes enjoyment out of other people’s grief and this may be due to an unstable childhood or simply the way he feels about society. The poem is written quite sympathetically but no matter how hard you try, you find that the thief is a very unlikable character. He has an exceptionally high opinion of himself and a certain degree of self importance and this is made apparent by the way he looks at his life at a certain angle, with a third person view. It is my task to describe how far Carol Ann Duffy, in her poem “Stealing” reveals the persona and encourages a degree of sympathy on the part of the reader.
In the first stanza the thief begins as if repeating a question someone has asked him. This makes me think that the thief is perhaps talking to someone or being interviewed. “The most unusual thing I ever stole?” It is also a rhetorical question and the thief makes it quite clear that he is not new to the world of thievery by saying “I ever stole”. His answer was “A Snowman.” And by keeping his answer short you feel that he wants to get straight to the point. I feel that it starts to become clear now that he cares more about the affection from inanimate objects. “Midnight” The thief wants everything to seem grand and mysterious and by using this word it adds the perfect affect. It is a scary time of night and this is obviously very appealing for him. The snowman is referred to as “a tall, white, mute”. Duffy has made this line stand out in the poem by making it monosyllabic. It is made to stand out because it gives away some clues about the…...

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...not need and cannot use. He breaks in our curiosity, "to have a look" but does not understand what he sees. He is pathetic, as he seems anxious to make a mark of some kind, whether leaving a "mess" or steaming up mirrirs wih his breakth. He casually mentions how he might "pinch" a camerca - it is worth little to him, but much to those whose memories it has recorded. The final stanze seems more honest. The bravao has gone and the thief's real motivation emerges - boredom, which comes from his inibility to make or do anything which gives pleasure. The theftt of the guitar is typically self-decieving. He thinks he might learn to play but the reader knows this will not happen as it takes time and patience which the thief does not have. Stealing the "bust of Shakespeare" also seems itonic to the reader. The thief takes an image of perhaps the greatest creative talent the world has ever seen - but without any sense what it snads for, or of te riches of Shkespeare's drama. The final line, which recalls the poem's converstaional opening - the thief has sensed not just the person that he is speaking to is disturbed by his confession ut also that the reader of the poem doesn’t "understand" him. This poem is colloquial but the speaking voice here is very distinct. Sometimes the speaker uses striking images("a muky ghost") and some unlikely vocabulary ("he looked magnificent") but he also uses cliches ("Life's tough"). Single words are written as sentences ("Mirrors.........

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