Text by Carol Ann Duffy Questions and Answers
1. Give an appreciation of the poem.
‘Text’ by Carol Ann Duffy is all about the text messages we type on our mobile phones. This short poem belongs to her poetry collection, “Rapture”. The former poet laureate meditates on the activity of texting and shares her thoughts regarding it in this poem. She is actually deliberating over the change in our mode of communication. According to Duffy, texting or sending short messages using our mobile devices has become a popular mode of conversation between friends and family members. The poem makes it clear that the poetess also uses it. But she is not happy with such a soundless conversation.
‘Text’ by Carol Ann Duffy is a short poem on the poetic feelings regarding the modern format of communication, “texting”.
Carol Ann Duffy discusses how she feels while texting her dear ones in her poem, ‘Text’. At the beginning of the poem, the poetess reads some messages on her mobile phone repetitively. While reading those text messages she feels that the process of sending and receiving messages is somehow mechanical. The message which she receives on her phone is like a note in a “broken chord”. She can’t even imagine the person who is actually sending those messages to her. As a result, she feels dejected for the mental distance; texting has created in her world.
Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Text’ is a short lyric. Its language is economical and direct. It has a compact structure containing only 14 lines. The lines are divided into 7 couplets which don’t rhyme altogether. The following words in the poem; “third” and “absurd”, “blurred” and “heard” rhyme at the end of line 6 and 8, line 12 and 14. respectively. Being a modern poem, it doesn’t have a conventional rhyme scheme.
If we scan the ‘Text’ metrically, we can find that the poem is composed of iambic dimeter and trimeter alternately. There are some anapaestic and trochaic variations that make the sound scheme of the poem more interesting. In the second line, “We text, text, text”, readers can find an occasional foot called “spondee” in which two syllables are stressed side by side. Having such variety in metrical structure, the poem’s sound scheme becomes more engaging to the readers.
Literary devices play an important role in Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Text’. Those devices help the poetess to make her thoughts more vibrant to readers. We can find such a rhetorical device called simile in the first two lines of the poem. Here Duffy compares her “mobile” to “an injured bird”. Readers can scan this line again and find another figure hidden between the lines. This hidden device is a metaphor. The word “tend” makes it clear to us that the poetess is actually referring to her mobile phone as her pet.
“We text, text, text”, is an example of palilogy in which a word is repeated in succession for the sake of emphasis. This line has another literary device which is known as asyndeton. Asyndeton is a figure of speech in which necessary conjunction is absent. The same device also
applies to the lines, “I re-read your first your second, your third…” “Broken chord” is a metaphor for text messages. Broken chord literally means, a chord broken into a sequence of notes. According to the poetess, when we text, we send and receive messages like a broken chord without a symphony. In the poem, “xx” is another metaphor. The English people generally use this sign as a note of affection at the end of a casual letter. Here the poetess means that she tries to find the words or signs which convey her dear one’s affection to her.
The last two lines present the essence of the poem. At the same time, it contains a literary device called epigram. Epigram is a brief statement that seems absurd at first. But reading it for the second time unfolds the truth to us. Using this epigram, the poetess points out that texting are a visual mode of communication. Although we apparently feel like talking to a person while texting, in reality, we just see those messages on our screens..
2. Give an analysis of the poem.
In the first four lines of “Text’, Carol Ann Duffy directly makes her idea clear to the readers. She is talking about text messaging commonly known as text. In our modern world, we treat our mobile phones as our pets. Like us, she tends her phone as “an injured bird”. Thereafter she refers to the habit of texting which has become an inseparable part of our lives. We spend long hours on this medium of short conversation and often text our “significant words” to our dear ones.
Carol Ann Duffy shares her habit of texting and what she feels about it, in the next four lines of ‘Text’. The poetess reads the messages sent by one of her close friends repetitively. She tries to find some adorable notes in those messages. But somehow this process seems meaningless to her. The format of such kind of communication leaves her with a sense of loneliness. At the time of texting, she apparently feels to be with someone. But in reality, she sees some words on her screen without getting the sound of the sender. It is not the words but the sound in a person’s words which makes them so dear to us.
In the last six lines of ‘Text’, Carol Ann Duffy visualizes text messages as some mechanical “codes”. A language which is a living
entity of culture has now become a lifeless medium of communication for technological advancements. Duffy compares texting to “a broken chord”. This phrase has a deep and interesting meaning in the poem. A broken chord refers to a chord or music in which the musical notes are played in succession. While messaging we also send and receive texts in succession. When we talk to someone in person, there is harmony and spontaneity. In messaging it never happens in that way.
After failing to feel the auditory aspects of texting Carol Ann Duffy tries to imagine the visual aspects of the sender. She says, “I try to picture your hands, their image is blurred.” Her statement makes it clear she also fails this time. Being an instrumental mode of communication, it is never possible to picture the person who sends messages to the poetess.
At last, the poetess utters a harsh reality. She tells the readers, “Nothing my thumbs press/ will ever be heard.” It is true that messaging being a visual mechanism of communication can’t deliver our feelings to a person. It just sends our codified words nothing else.
VERY SHORT QUESTIONS
1. What is the uncomforting in the poem?
In her poem Text; Carol Ann Duffy rather uncomfortably admits to the re-checking of her messages.
2. What is Duffy’s rapture?
Duffy’s Rapture is very much a contemporary collection and this poem reveals our secret obsession with detecting the often subtle, shifting revelations of love.
3. What is the symbol of the text?
The text has become iconic of the very visible, portable proof of love. It is a portable means of being found and being ‘lost’ at the same time.
4. How is a relationship connected to a text?
How a text is composed connotes how you are regarded and unforeseen alterations to our relationship’s traditions may cause fraught feeling to say the very least..
5. What does the poet admit here?
Duffy is superb on vulnerability and awkwardness. She admits here to the embarrassment of anxiety over even a missing ‘X ‘at the end of a message. And no matter how much the poet may tend to the mobile phone, the reality is that the beloved is not there. Loss remains.
6. Consider the simile in the poem.
The simile like an injured bird’ suggests vulnerability, the utmost, care, even despair. Sounds cannot infiltrate a text, so our voices remain unheard.
7. What happens when we decipher a text?
Dread thrives whilst we attend to the deciphering of the text. We. savour each word, reading, rereading, sending one back and another until they stop.
8. What does the narrator talks about in the poem? In the poem entitled “Text”, the narrator talks about the common practice of many couples to text instead of talking.
9. What message is conveyed through the poem?
The narrator transmits through her poem just how meaningless a few words on a phone can be and how she finds those words to bé cold and meaningless.
10. What is the poet’s claim?
She claims that the meaning is somehow lost during the transmitting process and what reaches her are just empty words. The sense of the words is “blurred” and the narrator is unable to discern the true meaning of her lover’s words.
11. What does the poet want to highlight?
Through this, the narrator wants to highlight just how much modern relationships are affected by texts.
12. What is the message in the poem?
In this poem the narrator analyzes the way in which modern relationships are affected by the technological advancements of the age.
13. Why words lose their meaning?
The words lose their meaning when they are transited through a text and the meaning of the words becomes blurred for the narrator until she is no longer able to understand them.
14. What is the poem about?
Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Text’ is a short lyric. Its language is economical and direct. It has a compact structure containing only 14 lines.
15. Write a note on the rhyme and rhythm of the poem.
The lines are divided into 7 couplets which don’t rhyme altogether. The following words in the poem; “third” and “absurd”, “blurred” and “heard” rhyme at the end of line 6 and 8, line 12 and 14 respectively. Being a modern poem, it doesn’t have a conventional rhyme scheme.
16. What is the metrical outcome of the poem?
If we scan the ‘Text’ metrically, we can find that the poem is composed of iambic dimeter and trimeter alternately. There are some anapaestic and trochaic variations that make the sound scheme of the poem more interesting.
17. What is the repetition in the second line known as?
In the second line, “We text, text, text”, readers can find an occasional foot called “spondee” in which two syllables are stressed side by side. Having such variety in metrical structure, the poem’s sound scheme becomes more engaging to the readers.