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by Carol Ann Duffy

Havisham Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Do you pity Miss Havisham, or do you think she's the cause of her own problems?
  2. Why do you think Duffy chose to write a poem about a character from a novel who actually gets to speak in that novel, as opposed to a character who doesn't have a voice? If you've read Great Expectations, how does Duffy's Miss Havisham compare to Dickens'?
  3. Do you need to have read Great Expectations to understand this poem, or does it stand alone on its own merits?
  4. Why does Miss Havisham use the word "spinster" to describe herself? Is she belittling herself by using such a derogatory term? Or is there a way in which this makes her stronger?
  5. What is the effect of all of Duffy's enjambments? Why does she break the lines of the poem so seemingly haphazardly?

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