Thetis – Carol Ann Duffy

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Thetis – Carol Ann Duffy
Yan Qing Mo
http://www.crystalinks.com/shapeshifter.jpg
Hook
http://www.impawards.com/1991/hook_ver1_xlg
.html
http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs23/f/2007/329/6/e/
Thetis_by_noir.jpg
I shrank myself
to the size of a bird in the hand
of a man.
Sweet, sweet, was the small song
that I sang,
till I felt the squeeze of his fist.
Mark up:
Enjambment
Imagery
Enumeration
Diction
Irony
Allusion
Personification
Metaphor
Alliteration
I sank through the floor of the earth
to swim in the sea.
Mermaid, me, big fish, eel, dolphin,
whale, the ocean’s opera singer.
Over the waves the fisherman came
with his hook and his line and his sinker
Then I did this:
shouldered the cross of an albatross
up the hill of the sky.
Why? To follow a ship.
But I felt my wings
clipped by the squint of a crossbow’s eye.
I changed my tune
to raccoon, skunk, stoat,
to weasel, ferret, bat, mink, rat.
The taxidermist sharpened his knives.
I smelled the stink of formaldehyde.
Stuff that.
So I shopped for a suitable shape.
Size 8. Snake.
Big Mistake.
Coiled in my charmer’s lap,
I felt the grasp of his strangler’s clasp
at my nape.
I was wind, I was gas,
I was all hot air, trailed
clouds for hair.
I scrawled my name with a hurricane,
when out of the blue
roared a fighter plane.
Next I was roar, claw, 50 lb paw,
jungle-floored, meateater, raw,
a zebra’s gore
in my lower jaw.
But my gold eye saw
the guy in the grass with the gun.Twelve-bore.
Then my tongue was flame
and my kisses burned,
but the groom wore asbestos.
So I changed, I learned,
turned inside out - or that’s
how it felt when the child burst out.
I shrank myself
to the size of a bird in the hand
of a man.
Sweet, sweet, was the small song
that I sang,
till I felt the squeeze of his fist.
I sank through the floor of the earth
to swim in the sea.
Mermaid, me, big fish, eel, dolphin,
whale, the ocean’s opera singer.
Over the waves the fisherman came
with his hook and his line and his sinker
Then I did this:
shouldered the cross of an albatross
up the hill of the sky.
Why? To follow a ship.
But I felt my wings
clipped by the squint of a crossbow’s eye.
I changed my tune
to raccoon, skunk, stoat,
to weasel, ferret, bat, mink, rat.
The taxidermist sharpened his knives.
I smelled the stink of formaldehyde.
Stuff that.
So I shopped for a suitable shape.
Size 8. Snake.
Big Mistake.
Coiled in my charmer’s lap,
I felt the grasp of his strangler’s clasp
at my nape.
I was wind, I was gas,
I was all hot air, trailed
clouds for hair.
I scrawled my name with a hurricane,
when out of the blue
roared a fighter plane.
Next I was roar, claw, 50 lb paw,
jungle-floored, meateater, raw,
a zebra’s gore
in my lower jaw.
But my gold eye saw
the guy in the grass with the gun.Twelve-bore.
Then my tongue was flame
and my kisses burned,
but the groom wore asbestos.
So I changed, I learned,
turned inside out - or that’s
how it felt when the child burst out.
Structure:
8 Stanzas
Each with 6 verses
Each stanza has a different
contribution to the poem
 Free Verse
Rhyme:
There’s end rhyme, but no unnoticeable patterns
Fewer internal rhymes than end rhymes
 15 cases of Enjambment
Length of verses:
http://www.synchrosecrets.com/synchrosecrets/?p
Short and long
=941
Literal Meaning
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons
/a/af/Detail_Pioneer_Group_Louvre_G65.jpg
• Thetis from Greek Mythology:
• Known as Goddess of water, or as a sea nymph
• Zeus prophesized that her son was going to be a man who will surpass
his father.
• Zeus and Poseidon arranged a marriage for her and a mortal
• Thetis shape shifted, trying to prevent the arranged marriage
• However, Peleus always found a way to capture her.
• She ends up giving birth to Achilles
• Failure to escape from the grasp of an “arranged marriage”
• From a mortal
• Someone she doesn’t want to marry
• No matter how hard she tries to escape, the “groom” finds a way to prevent
her escape
Figurative Meaning
• Unable to escape from the grasp of men
• No matter what, the presence of man will always be present
• Man’s strength and power’s superior to female
• Heavily supported by literary devices
• Demonstrates how no one desires an arranged marriage but
are obligated to
• Somehow relates to homosexuality
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons
/thumb/1/1c/Thetis_Peleus_Cdm_Paris_539.jpg/
600px-Thetis_Peleus_Cdm_Paris_539.jpg
Imagery
• “I Shrank myself
to the size of a bird in the hand
of a man.
Sweet, sweet, was the small song
that I sang,” (1 – 5)
• “Shouldered the cross of an albatross
up the hill of the sky.
Why? To follow a ship” (8 – 10)
• “Size 8. Snake.” (14)
• “Next I was roar, …
in my lower jaw” (19 – 22)
• “Raccoon, … rat.” (32 – 33)
• “I was wind, I was gas,
I was all hot air, trailed
clouds for hair.” (37 – 39)
• “My tongue was flame
and my kisses burned,” (43 -44)
• “Mermaid, …
whale, the ocean’s opera singer.” (27 – 28)
• “The taxidermist sharpened his knives.
I smelled the stink of formaldehyde.
Stuff that.” (34 – 36)
• “till I felt the squeeze of his fist.” (6)
• “So I changed, I learned,
Turned inside out – or that’s
• “But I felt my wings
clipped by the squint of a crossbow’s eye.” How it felt when the child burst out.”
(46 – 48)
(11 – 12)
Imagery (Cont.)
• “I scrawled my name with a hurricane,
• “Coiled in my charmer’s lap,
I felt the grasp of his strangler’s clasp when out of the blue
roared a fighter plane.” (40 – 42)
at my nape.” (16 – 18)
• “the guy in the grass with the gun. Twelve-bore.” (24)
• “Over the waves the fisherman came
with his hook and his line and his sinker.”
(29 – 30)
• “but the groom wore asbestos.”
(45)
Diction
• “shouldered” (8)
• “shopped” (13)
• “roar” (19)
• “sank” (25)
• “tune” (31)
• “scrawled” (40)
• “burst” (48)
http://www.theoi.com/image/P12.4AThetis.jpg
Enumeration
• “Next I was roar, claw, 50 lb paw,
jungle-floored, meateater, raw,
a zebra’s gore
in my lower jaw.” (19 – 22)
• “Mermaid, me, big fish, eel, dolphin,
whale, the ocean’s opera singer.”(27 – 28)
• “to raccoon, skunk, stoat,
to weasel, ferret, bat, mink, rat.” (32 – 33)
• “I was wind, I was gas,
I was all hot air,” (37 – 38)
http://www.daykeeperjournal.com/wpcontent/uploads/g-thetis.jpg
I shrank myself
to the size of a bird in the hand
of a man.
Sweet, sweet, was the small song
that I sang,
till I felt the squeeze of his fist.
Mark up:
Enjambment
Imagery
Enumeration
Diction
Irony
Allusion
Personification
Metaphor
Alliteration
I sank through the floor of the earth
to swim in the sea.
Mermaid, me, big fish, eel, dolphin,
whale, the ocean’s opera singer.
Over the waves the fisherman came
with his hook and his line and his sinker
Then I did this:
shouldered the cross of an albatross
up the hill of the sky.
Why? To follow a ship.
But I felt my wings
clipped by the squint of a crossbow’s eye.
I changed my tune
to raccoon, skunk, stoat,
to weasel, ferret, bat, mink, rat.
The taxidermist sharpened his knives.
I smelled the stink of formaldehyde.
Stuff that.
So I shopped for a suitable shape.
Size 8. Snake.
Big Mistake.
Coiled in my charmer’s lap,
I felt the grasp of his strangler’s clasp
at my nape.
I was wind, I was gas,
I was all hot air, trailed
clouds for hair.
I scrawled my name with a hurricane,
when out of the blue
roared a fighter plane.
Next I was roar, claw, 50 lb paw,
jungle-floored, meateater, raw,
a zebra’s gore
in my lower jaw.
But my gold eye saw
the guy in the grass with the gun.Twelve-bore.
Then my tongue was flame
and my kisses burned,
but the groom wore asbestos.
So I changed, I learned,
turned inside out - or that’s
how it felt when the child burst out.
Discussion Questions
By the tone in which the poem is written, can we distinguish Carol Ann Duffy’s
view towards feminism and masculinity? How is it expressed differently from
other poems?
What this
Does
connections,
poem haveif anything
any, doesto
Thetis
do with
haveCarol
with Ann
One Flew
Duffy’s
Overautobiography?
the Cuckoo’s Nest
Although Carol Ann Duffy is feminist, why did she write this poem which
doesn’t support feminism?

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