In addition, it begins with a negative word, ‘not’ showing her strength of feeling. The onion is the main subject throughout the poem. Duffy describes it as “a moon wrapped in brown paper. ” This metaphor is symbolic of love. The onion skin is like the wrapping paper of a present and the moon is symbolic as it gives off light, like love. The white represents good things and has annotations of light, hope and happiness. The quotation “It will blind you with tears” connects the way onions make you cry with the negative aspects of love.
She knows love has its bad points, in a relationship lovers can hurt one another and things can go wrong. Furthermore, during the quotation “It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief”, Duffy uses a transferred epithet here to create the effect of the feeling being in the photo rather than the person. The word ‘wobbling’ represents the action made by tears caused by unstable relationships that may collapse because of negative aspects, this relates back to her thoughts that being in love has it’s down side too.
Honesty from the poet is a theme throughout the poem. She uses lines which let the reader know her feelings about love and the way she wants to tell the truth about it. “I am trying to be truthful” shows she is being honest about how things can go. “Not a cute card or kissogram”, again Duffy rejects the traditional ideas of love letting the reader know they are not appropriate for what she is trying to say. “For as long as we are” gives a realistic view that love may not be forever. “Take it”, Duffy uses a direct statement here, as if she will not take no for an answer.
It is almost as though she is forcing her lover to take the onion which she believes represents true love. “Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding ring,” in this quotation Duffy connects the shape of the rings in an onion to the shape of wedding rings. She tells the reader effectively here that love can last forever if you are committed and faithful. However, she follows with “if you like” allowing us to realise love can go that far if you want it to, showing there is no pressure there, it is up to you if you try. “Lethal” is a single word used in the next line.
The word lethal can be connected with poison and things that are deadly, also it can connect with the words fatal and death which could connect to the fact love can last until you die. The idea of ‘lethal’ is carried on through to the next line connecting to the scent of an onion. “Its scent will cling to your fingers” is the use of personification, describing how the strong smell of an onion stays around like the poet hopes love or a partner will. The final line uses repetition of the word “cling”. “Cling to your knife”, this quotation is like a desperate hope that if you hold onto love it will never leave you.
The use of the word “knife” in the final line is like the poet telling you that you can get hurt like someone stabbing you in the back, or also that you can even hurt someone in love, you have the power. In conclusion, the use of direct statements and an extended metaphor convey the way Carol Ann Duffy feels about love in “Valentine”. Throughout the poem she rejects the traditional aspects of love with strong feelings of how she perceives it. Successfully throughout, the reader gets to understand her ideas of the true meanings of love and was memorable for me because of this.