IOP Script the Diet by Carol Ann Duffy

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Theme: Duffy conveys the theme of societal expectations and how one may attempt to reach the unattainable vision that society portrays as the “ideal person,” resulting in their constant deterioration and self-harm.

Subthemes/Body Points:

  1. Societal Expectations
  2. Unattainable Vision
  3. Constant Deterioration and Self Harm

I. Introduction

  • Outline; what will be on each slide
  • Theme
  • Explain the three subthemes
  • . Explain the theme as a whole

II. Social Expectations

  • Repetition of “she”
  • . Lack of name; the issue is common in society and widely overlook
  • . “No sugar, salt, dairy, fat, protein, starch or alcohol” (Duffy 2-3).
  • . Modern fad diets
  • . Diet leaves out necessary parts of the food pyramid
  • Explain food pyramid visual
  • “She was anorexia’s true daughter” (Duffy 16).
  • Personification
  • Shows how strong of a hold Anorexia has
  • Society’s child turned into Anorexia’s child
  • You are your looks
  • “She stayed near people, lay in the tent of a nostril like a germ” (Duffy 36-37).
  • Simile
  • The people didn’t care; overlooked issue
  • “Germ” – keeps shrinking

III. Unattainable Vision

  • “The diet worked like a dream” (Duffy 1).,/li>
  • Simile/ dictions
  • Comparing the diet to a dream; this dream is unattainable
  • Connotation/ denotation
  • >
  • Distinguishing factor; society’s expectation is that they want you to be a certain way
  • what society wants vs what she wants; no longer independent – dependent on what society wants
  • “Chomped and chewed and gorged; inside the Fat Woman now, trying to get out” (Duffy 55-56)
  • Never-ending cycle; cycles don’t have an end-point
  • Capitalization of “Fat Woman” = the type of person society doesn’t want you to be
  • “Inside every fat woman is a thin woman trying to get out”
  • Spin on this saying; She is a “fat” and healthy person trying to get out of the anorexic body
  • “The height of a thimble, She sat at her open window and the wind blew her away” (Duffy 19-21).
  • Fairytale allusion
  • Magical realism; realistic views of world with magical elements
  • Partly real, partly not
  • Fairytales are not real; they are just like a dream

IV. Constant Deterioration and Self-Harm

  • “She starved on, stayed in, stared in the mirror, svelter, slimmer” (Duffy 8).
  • Alliteration/ Consonance
  • Svelter means “Slimmer”
  • Constant use of the “s” sound auditorily shows the reader that the starvation is a constant process; the sound makes you salivate; short & sharp tone
  • Harsh imagery of physical appearance
  • “She was all eyes, all cheekbones, had guns for hips” (Duffy 12-13).
    1. Metaphor
    2. Her hips are literally protruding so much that they are sharp and able to hurt people but metaphorically, the anorexia is killing her, like guns kills people (connotation/ denotation)
  • “By the end of week one... Half a stone... Shrinking” (Duffy 3-4).
  • “a fortnight in , she was eight stone” (Duffy 5-6).
  • “by the end of the month she was skin and bone” (Duffy 6-7)
  • Internal rhyme: Stone/ Bone
  • Progression of time; keeps shrinking; physically disappearing
  • Losing her identity along with her weight
  • “skeleton” (Duffy 11).
  • “A shadow” (Duffy 17).

[SIDE NOTE] Eventually author comments on how ppl will go to such attempts to please other ppl because they seek validation from external factors; external source of happiness

iii. two similar forms of external satisfaction (society’s views vs. food); author inhibits one: food; one is healthy, and one isn’t

V. Structure

  • Free verse; occasional rhymes
  • Internal rhymes
  • Example: “breakfast, lunch, dinner, thinner” (Duffy 4-5).
  • Significance to them; loss of control
  • Each stanza indents to where the prior one ends
  • Continuous starvation; no time to pause
  • Cyclical Structure
  • Starvation to indulgence to starvation
  • Significance of title
  • Diets are the things that stand out for the girls; they can be healthy or non-healthy

VI. Activity/Questions

a. Awareness of the influence of society

VII. Real World Example: Models

  • Struggles with eating disorders
  • Harsh realities of model industry

VIII. Revisit theme

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Cite this page

IOP Script The Diet by Carol Ann Duffy. (2019, Feb 15). Retrieved March 3, 2024 , from

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