The Public and the Private

In concerns to how exactly we READ Duff’y writing, I believe that (according to the article) you have to understand and have sufficient knowledge of the ideas and references she makes in her writing but more importantly you have to be able to connect all the aspects of her writing, from the stylistic uses of language to her experiences written in retrospective to the concepts and idea behind all of her work. In oder to be able to extract all that is good in her writing, fitting all the pieces together and having different points of perspectives is key to not only reading her writing (the way in tended) but also enjoying and cultivating from her work.

Besides her personal experiences as a child, growing into an adult and then becoming a mother, I feel Duffy uses her thoughts (or perspective) on the world to write about an address the situations in this world.

The article mentions her reoccurring theme of love and femininity. She also seems to write quite a lot on human life (childhood to adulthood and more). Another set of themes she could be talking about empathy and and reversion of stereotypes.


In the passage ‘The public and the private’ it analyses Carol Ann Duffy and her style of writing. Something things that stood out to me was how the article mentions she writes in a chronological order in terms of age. She starts at childhood, he speech sounding childish and immature, and as you continue to read her literature matures in language. Additionally, once hitting that stage of adulthood, she allows many things to happen. Whether that be a reflection of the character in a sense of failure or success or nostalgia or just the acknowledgement of complete transformation. Going further, Duffy writes her personifications in a way that later she revels the secrets that are used to make up their characters. She creates a way where she uses the voice of the persona and her voice in such a complex way that it is hard to determine who’s voice is who’s.

Something else that stood out to me was all the different types of craft, all the different considerations, she uses when she writes. Writing mostly in monologue she uses the conscience of her characters, portraying ideas and thoughts in the form of internal monologues or uses that of an audience not for the purpose of being a participant but to be a symbol or device instead. She uses accounts of her own experience and writes in retrospective addressing modern issues.

Cat In the Window (‘Green Rice’)


Cat in the window is about a person who is found in a room in a house contemplating life as she looks out a window in her house. While she does this a cat appears in the window. They are both described as looking out into the stars. The implications of this poem is that the persona in the poem has experienced life as seen in her a room as “life feels heavy” (1) and she “cannot sleep, (she) lies down in silence” (3). Thinking about the experience of life being the weight that is heavy. She lies in silence contemplating life and reasons why things happen, how she might come to terms with it all. Or, could represent the burdens on life from being a solider experiencing many thing in which to learn from (therefore her mediatory situation). She mentions how she “think(s) about humanity, the past” (4) referring to those that she has lost durning this life time. Or referring to the sanity of humanity that was lost in the event of war. The comma making ‘the past’ separate from humanity, no longer residing in humans. The cat suddenly appearing in the window, the cat symbolizing a reflection of herself that is more optimistic as his “green eyes stare out at green stars” (6). His green eyes physically reflection the light of the stars in which he stares at, a sign of hope, a light in the dark that is the night (or her thought, that then bare a burden on her life). Why green eyes? Because green signifies life or a renewed freshness in perspective (as this cat is her optimistic side). It sits in the window, the lense that she (they) gaze at life through (being inside, looking out at nature a symbol of life, going back to the GREEN stars). The cat is “silent as a statue” (7) it posture suggesting a sort of sturdy stance in which it faces all of its life. *Or for a cat since it has nine lives, it face all of them with the strength that the posture of the cat represents. “Carved against the shining starry sky” (8) is the distinct path that has been carved by the choices made throughout life, whether they be burdensome or triumphant. Or the path of fate in which has brought her here, looking out of this window.

Continuing on with her internal affairs, she says how “(she) love(s) this life without limit” (9) referring to her acceptance of the things that have happened and her readiness to move on (die) and become part of nature again, therefor her gentle glances out her window, with a sort of upcoming content. Or it could be referring to her acknowledgement of the recklessness of the government system to use so many lives just to win a war, also contemplating the reason or purpose of war in all its inhumanity. Could also be using this line in a way that the death of all those solider ARE in a way without limit as humans are part of nature and they have just been returned to where they came from (the ground, nature, bible reference). Therefore their death not marking and end, but a beginning or rebirth (renewal). Kinda of like the cat and his representation of reincarnation (the nine lives of a cat). But also could be seen in irony compared to the soldiers as they had one life and have died and are gone (burdens) whereas this cat seems quite comfortable with it having nine lives. “No longer worried and sad, I’m light and free” (10) is her finally expression towards life. Life becoming a little more clearer and being able to accept it more openly now, lifting the burdens and worries of her life. Clarifying an early line where “Poetry, light almost weightless” (2) where she needed an excuse to get away from life, now learning to seeing life in a new perspective. The window being that clarified new way of seeing things and the sky being her new found freedom in spirt and the poetry (or reasons why it was needed) also becoming transparent. Or the poetry being a way of identifying with her self and life, being some sort of escapes (as well) no longer needed. Last lines “Through the window, the cat looks out at the sky / Looks out, like the most transparent poem.” (11,12).

The global issue of this poem was identity, more so the person crisis of identity when face with hardship and ones way of overcoming that. This was found in between the mood that the beginning of the poem (first quatrain) creates being a little more gloomy and negative to when she ended with a more light and excepting tone (third quatrain). In between these points in the poem, mainly the second quatrain, you can see how nature, in this case the cat, stars and sky all have a effect in lightening her mood, drawing out that more optimistic personality that was originally reflected in the cat (resonating with her personality or identity). The second quatrain is the focus of the glue that holds the intro and exit together giving this poem the global issue of identity.


Why and how do we study literature?

The reasons we studliterature is because it gives us insight into the possibilities of one’s imaginationwhile still using aspects in life that we can connect to such as our senses or our emotions. By studyingliterature we vouch for the use of one’s own mind and learn that creativity in the form of words can be not only an outlet but also an inlet to learning to understand one another.  

In literature, we study the use of formatting a broad spectrum of vocabulary in to a fictional story. We learn to read and understand what the author is trying to say based on many things. These things include the plot of the story or the way the characters are described as a pose to their internal dialogue and the different techniques the author uses his/her writing to capture attentionget a point across or even just to emphasize a statement or idea