English Literature exam today, on Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance and Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife. Bumbled along happily with Wilde for an hour, although sadly not in a particularly witty section of the play, but with a decent enough question all the same. Then we got to Duffy – where the question was about how a male journalist (Mark Lawson, I found out later) said he ‘felt threatened’ by Duffy’s poetry.[Sigh]
I’m not saying it was a bad question that shouldn’t have ever been set. But it just seems like, every single year, AQA’s format is:
Q. Duffy is a Big Scary Lesbian Feminist, eh eh?
A. No, because….
Yeah, sure, it’s a nice way of catching out the 0.01% of readers who don’t like Duffy. But for the rest of us, isn’t it possible to move on and discuss the themes that actually are in the poetry? She says herself her work is “not to threaten men or anything as tedious as that” – so please, move on!