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Rock Street, San Francisco

As the stanza continues, Duffy subverts our usual happy associations of weddings into another violent image by describing Miss Havisham stabbing at the cake.

As the cake lies there decaying, it reminds us that like Miss Havisham, it too has never fulfilled its purpose.

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Just as the cake was never consumed, so too Miss Havisham’s marriage remains unconsummated and, like her, the cake continues to stagnate and atrophy.

The penultimate line of the final stanza is loaded with sinister, perhaps even necrophiliac undertones: Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon.

Again, she subverts our usual associations of the honeymoon with joy and happiness into something much more menacing.

The final line of the poem though is more poignant: Don’t think it’s only the heart that b –b –breaks.

The last word is broken up not only to imitate the sound of the speaker finally breaking down in anguish, but to emphasise the extent of her mental and emotional disintegration.

This hatred and anger have consumed and destroyed every other aspect or facet of her personality so that she is now little more than an empty husk.

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