The poems The Worlds Wife reflect Duffys own, very feminist, view of the world. Explore this statement using either two or three in detail or ranging more widely across the collection. Carol Ann Duffy was born on December 23rd 1955 in Glasgow and is a very strong feminist, in The Worlds Wife Duffy explores what it is like to be a woman and uses dramatic monologue in many of her poems to convey her thoughts. The speakers of the poems are all female but we also hear the male voice, be it mediated through the female voice.
Throughout the collection Duffy casts an ironic eye on heterosexual relationships; she gives the woman the dominating voice and the upper hand. Duffy also explores the anger and even horror involved in failed or dysfunctional relationships, for example the horror of the relationship between the Devil and the Devils Wife. In The Worlds Wife heterosexuality is rejected, and homosexuality is affirmed. Meaningful relationships tend to be found in communities of women. Elvis is alive and shes female is the first line of Elviss Twin Sister.
The twin sister is a nun and leads a contented life, in the second stanza the nun receives an appreciation stare from the Reverend Mother, she digs the way I move my hips / Just like my brother. Homosexuality is not widely explored in the collection although it is treated positively when mentioned. The Black Queen in Queen Herod is a self-assured, imposing figure, who stares at Queen Herod with insolent lust. The Kray Sisters is a depiction of two brash, noisy and feminist women. The poem refers to numerous gay icons, Lulu, Dusty and Yoko.
The Kray Sisters also show their dislike of some of the other women in the firm, who are well out of order, get engaged or become some plonkers wife. In Queen Herod, the Queen welcomes three Queens to the palace, they bring gifts for her newly born baby girl, the Queen swears to protect her daughter from male exploitation and orders the death of all sons in her land. When the three Queens come to visit Queen Herod they warn her to look out for a star in the East, signalling the birth of a boy and the omen of male domination.
The Queen fears her daughters exploitation and the threat posed to the childs identity; she orders death to all of the boy children in her kingdom to ensure the safety of her daughter, possibly wanting her not to have any heterosexual relationships. The poem is written in free verse, the lines run heavily with symbolism and the meanings multifaceted. The new star pierced through the night like a nail represents Christs Crucifixion. In the poem however the star presages suffering towards the female child, and the matriarchal line, we can therefore assume that the birth of a boy represents masculinity, rather than specifically Jesus.
The Husband. Hero. Hunk¦ Adulterer. Bigamist ¦ The Rat all terms that the three Queens use to refer to men, especially the new child that has just been born, once again showing Duffys view on the male species. The black Queen takes out Queen Herods breast and, in an act which can be seen as both sexual and nurturing, puts it into the babys mouth; this appears to be an allusion to the attractions of lesbianism and the power of motherhood. The Kray Sisters explores the criminal underworld that the Kray Sisters rule in; the sisters are clearly supporters of the womens movement.
The poem begins with the sisters recalling what their lives used to be like and the impressions that they made on the local geezers. The image of them walking down the frog and toad with men shouting at them immediately strikes a tension between the masculine and the feminine. Typical male clothing, a whistle and flute becomes translated into a bolder feminine stance to flatter their thrpenny bits; this image conjures thoughts of cross-dressing. The use of a single voice throughout the poem avoids the use of dialogue and accentuates their sisterhood and commitment to feminism.
In the poem there is a reference to Cannonball Vi, the sisters grandmother and a suffragette, someone that fought for womens rights, this strength and fight for women clearly still lives on in the Kray sisters as by the time they were six they were sat at her skirt, showing that they clearly admire her. The fourth verse shows how men should be regarded as merely sexual objects, and how relationships with men are regarded as consorting with the enemy, Rule Number One A boyfriends for Christmas, not just for life, this idiom reflects the sisters opinions on love and relationships.
The sisters talk about their first club, Ballbreakers, in the club they offer women protection this could be seen as the literal protection of women against violence, pregnancy or euphemistically to protection that is usually provided by gangsters. In the poem Elvis Twin Sister Elvis sister describes life, she is a nun, and admired by the Reverend Mother for the way in which she wiggles her hips. She once had a life of loneliness and heartbreak, but now she has achieved a state of grace and, for once, is happy.
Duffy takes the ironic figure of Elvis and created a satirical poem. Duffy shows that Elvis and his twin sister are complete opposites in all aspects of their lives; Elvis lived a thoroughly indulgent life, whereas the twin sister leads a simple and happy existence. In the poem Duffy invites the reader to enjoy the feminist view that Elvis alter ego is a contented female, living in a community of women. In the last verse of the poem Duffy focuses of the theory that Elvis is still alive, Im alive and well.
Elvis was not only a sex symbol, but had a reputation as being a womaniser, Duffy conveys her thoughts on this man and how he treated women with a careless disregard and did not give them respect. To conclude many poems in Duffys collection explore her feminist views. In Queen Herod, we are shown how a radical feminist wants to protect her daughters from male domination so much that she is willing to kill every boy child in the land, just so that her daughters identity is not over-powered by the ego of a man.
The Kray Sisters explores Duffys view by showing that women can do the same things as men, and how women, such as the Suffragettes, fought for womens rights, without these people women would have no rights, the poem, in some way, pays tribute to Vi who fought for women today. In Elvis Twin Sister we are shown how women are the reason why some men are so famous, this is also the case in Mrs Darwin, who claims to have started the idea of the Theory of Evolution in Darwins mind. Duffys poems are all very feminist and she shares her views through humorous, yet sometimes aggressive, tone.