In the poems 'Stealing' and 'Mrs Tilcher's Class' Carol Ann Duffy tells us about life through different people's eyes . In both her poems she uses simple words and metaphors to express her views. Stealing shows us how boring life could be without friends. The observation here is that she motivates people against antisocial behavior. In 'Mrs Tilchers Class' Carol Ann Duffy illustrates the difference stages of life in a child.
'Stealing' is a poem in the form of a persona. It depicts a lonely life without family and friends in which the thief finds different ways of stealing in order to amuse himself. He states 'Mostly I'm so bored I could eat myself'. He is so bored that he steals a snowman in order to make a friend. He finds out that his 'friend' has many characteristics in common to him. His friend had ' a mind as cold as the slice of ice within my own brain'.
The poet has a conversational tone such as asking questions. We are hearing only part of the conversation. The poem is set on a cold chilly night.
The poet is more cynical and formal when she is talking about the snowman.
The phrase 'an idle mind is a devil's workshop' is very applicable here since the thief has nothing to do, so to keep himself busy he breaks into people's homes. He has a rather ruthless philosophy of life that 'better of dead than giving in, not taking what you want'. He steals not for money but for the pleasure. He tries to be part of families by collecting photographs of them, this is evidence of his loneliness.
Carol Ann Duffy has used an irony of the thief hugging the snowman. Hugging is associated with warmth, here it is done to a snowman which would obviously be cold. There is another irony when she says that he's having a 'joyride' when he's not having fun, he's just doing it for the sake of it.
'Mrs Tilcher's Class' is a nostalgic poem. In this poem the poet tells us about growth in life. She shows this by using a kindergarten child who is developing and maturing while aging. The child experiences and learns many things during school life. The poet uses a tadpole as a metaphor for the child. As the tadpole grows up the child matures. The tadpoles 'changed from commas to exclamation marks'. There is a sign of growing up when the child asks Mrs Tilcher how she was born to which she ignores. The child has knowledge of something, which other kids don't have and Mrs Tilcher doesn't want to reveal anything like that to the children at that time of their lives.
The poet has used simple and child like words in her poem as she is describing a child's life. The poem is very ordered and repetitive like a nursery rhyme. She has also used metaphors such as 'a tangible alarm' which means there is a sign of maturity and pubity in the child. She has also structured the poem well.
We can see that in 'Mrs Tilcher's Class' the stanzas become shorter and shorter this shows as people mature, time passes faster. Whereas in 'Stealing' the length of each stanza is the same, here we can see that there was probably no change in the thief's life. He remained lonely and had no future.
Duffy's poems show how exciting and boring life can be without a family. Life is a mystery when young and is exciting while maturing. Life can also make people go the wrong way when it becomes boring.