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Dreadful Dolls: Female Power in Carol Ann Duffy

Beatrice Nori


The article scrutinizes some female characters in four poems of the Scottish poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Starting from the issue of gender construction and feminist theories, the author then shifts the focus onto the deconstruction and then re-writing of identities. The “Dreadful Dolls” of the title are women struggling to regain control of their bodies, and lives. The author points out how these women change their own body nature and appearance to determine the effects on those who claim power over them. These heroines become aware of the power of their gaze, which they use as a weapon or as a shield. They even manipulate their attire in order to reveal or, contrarily, to hide something about themselves. In this work, the author presents women performing the re-writing of their identity and power.


Carol Ann Duffy; poetry; women; feminism; gender; the gaze; power; myth; tattoos; performance.

Full Text:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ling-2020-002-nori

Copyright (©) 2021 Beatrice Nori – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (06/04/2012 n. 185)
Online ISSN 1724-8698 - Print ISSN 2281-8952

Dipartimento di Scienze della Comunicazione, Studi Umanistici e Internazionali: Storia, Culture, Lingue, Letterature, Arti, Media
Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo

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