This poem is an interesting insight into the mind of a thief/kleptomaniac. Again, Duffy creates a persona.
When reading the poem, it is worth considering the symbolic value of many of the objects stolen by the persona (in other words: what do they represent to the persona?), because their material worth is little.
Poem begins with a question, which will immediately interest readers. The juxtaposition of the answer ‘snowman’ makes it a surprising and intriguing first line.
Personifying the snowman.
Suggests the speaker is lonely...and his reason for personifying the snowman is so that it might become his companion.
The metaphor equates literal coldness with emotional coldness, suggesting the speaker is cruel and unfeeling. The persona is not happy about his or her life.
The speaker begins to pull the snowman apart in order to transport it. It's a ridiculous image, really.
An interesting glimpse into the mental state of the persona. To not take things is to ‘give in’, but to what?
Cruel. The persona enjoys others’ suffering.
Cruel tired cliché, used to openly mock his imagined victims.
Highlights the pointlessness of his crimes.
The metaphor, which compares him or her to a ghost, suggests a low self-esteem...that he or she is insubstantial and no one cares about him or her.
A camera captures images, represents events and happy memories...is this why he steals it?
Relishing the act.
Pleasure? Sadness? What is it about a stranger’s bedroom? The intimacy that he knows is there?
The shift from present tense to past tense signals that we are back to the narrative of the snowman.
There was something about the snowman before that has been lost in stealing it. Perhaps the fact that he cannot steal time and people: he may take the snowman, but he can’t share the experience of building it was a family. Perhaps that’s what he’s really seeking.
Almost childlike, an impetuous tantrum.
The speaker is not able to understand himself and his motives.
Could this be the main reason he steals? Or does the poem hint at other reasons?
As with Education for Leisure, the poem ends with a direct appeal to the reader. This time, however, it is a rhetorical question, that leaves the persona even more isolated. Feels that no one understands him, or why he does it. His attempt to reach out to the world ends abruptly with a bleak conclusion. We, as readers, cannot respond to the persona, even if we do understand.