What grade would I get for this essay and how can I improve it?

Analyse how language features were used to explore a moral dilemma.

Often in life, we are never fully independent. We will have someone by our side, guiding us along the way, such as our parents when we are younger. However, sometimes this guiding hand can begin to take control of our lives. Author Carol Ann Duffy carefully utilises language features to explore the dilemma of whether we should let other people take control of our lives or whether this be detrimental to our life. This is particularly explored in her poems Mrs Midas. Throughout her piece of writing, Duffy is trying to prove that selfishness will not get you anywhere, in fact, it is more likely to hinder your life.

Mrs Midas and her husband King Midas were happily living in their home until King Midas made a wish that everything he touched would turn to gold. This decision was selfish because he did not think about the impact it would have on those around him. In making this decision, King Midas had control over his wife because it meant she was no longer able to touch him, kiss him or even be around him without being scared. Duffy shows this through the use of an in which King Midas has made their once loving home like “the tomb of Tutankhamun” while “he sat on that chair like a king on a burnished throne.” This use of an allusion clearly symbolises how because King Midas is controlling Mrs Midas’ life, their home is not fully theirs anymore, it is more like a replica from history. Additionally, Tutankhamun was a Pharoah and pharaohs had complete control over the people in the area. This relates to Mrs Midas because it clearly proves that King Midas is controlling Mrs Midas’ life so that she can no longer live the life she dreamed of. Mrs Midas admits that she misses her husband even after his decisions which have separated the couple. She still misses “his hands, his warm hands on my skin, his touch.” This use of repetition proves the idea that although we want to have people around us to support us, we shouldn’t give them control over our lives because in doing this we make ourselves more vulnerable. The use of repetition proves that by giving King Midas control over her life, she is missing out on more and more. This proves the idea that within society we should not conform to other people’s beliefs, we should be our own independent people because that will be the life that will lead us to the most happiness.

Throughout life, we will pass through many stages and our emotions can change along the way. In the beginning, Mrs Midas’ life is very peaceful and filled with contentment. This is shown through the use of personification, “The kitchen filled with the smell of itself, relaxed, its steamy breath gently blanching the windows.” This use of personification and enjambment creates a positive and peaceful scene in the poem. Mrs Midas is happy with the life she is living, although it is simple, it fills her with joy to cook and spend time in her lovely home. However, as King Midas makes his decision, the tone of the poem changes to confusion, then anger and then fear. Through these three stages, the poem becomes more bitter. Duffy creates this negative atmosphere through the use of short sentences, “That was the last straw.” The use of short sentences proves that Mrs Midas is no longer happy with the life she is being forced to live, she wants to have control back over her own life so she doesn’t have to live in fear. Finally, as Mrs Midas begins to take control over her life, the poem returns to its smooth long sentences as the tone changes again to a sense of longing. “I think of him in certain lights, dawn, late afternoon, and once a bowl of apples stopped me dead.” This use of enjambment highlights the idea that Mrs Midas still loves her husband and always will she just does not like his actions and the control he took over her life. This proves the idea that it is important to not be selfish and try to take what isn’t ours because it will only come back to bite you when you realise you have ruined the relationships you value most.

King Midas’ decision has severely impacted Mrs Midas. She has given him too much control over her life and needs to take it back in order to truly be happy. It took Mrs Midas a while to discover that if she wanted to truly be happy, she would need to take action so that she no longer lived in fear. “I drive him up” to their caravan in the middle of the woods so that she would no longer live in fear in her home. This use of personal pronouns is clever because it suggests to the reader that if you want to make a change in your life so you can live the life you aspire to, you must be the one that makes the change. The personal pronoun highlights that it is Mrs Midas making the decision to isolate her husband, not King Midas realising his mistake. This proves that women can be just as powerful as men and have the capacity to make changes so that they are not controlled by other people, but rather are controlling their own life. This proves the idea that within society although we may want help along the road, we should never put ourselves in a position where one person is completely controlling our lives because people can change and you do not want to put yourself in an avoidable situation where you cannot be your true self.

It is alright to let people have some control over our lives and to base some of our decisions on others. However, we should always remember that we are our own people and deserve to be in control of our own lives. Mrs Midas was happy when her life was controlled by King Midas, however, then he made an irreversible decision that changed Mrs Midas’ happiness. This proves that no matter how happy you may feel, the circumstances can always change. As a result, you should make an effort to have control over your life so that if something changes for the worst, you have control and therefore, you can continue to be happy despite what other people are doing.

Kiā ora
Lovely introduction. You address both parts of the question and are clear on the author’s purpose. Perhaps including the word moral when you talk of the dilemma would be helpful - what is a moral dilemma exactly? - set out what you understand it to be. One that challenges our sense of what is right or wrong? One that challenges us to behave in less than noble ways etc.
This would help you in the subsequent paragraphs when you discuss the dilemmas - Eg you say " This proves the idea that within society we should not conform to other people’s beliefs, we should be our own independent people because that will be the life that will lead us to the most happiness. Where is the moral dilemma? That we should not exert control over others and their happiness, we do not have the right? It could be a bit clearer.
You imply it in the next paragraph, but it could still be helpful to use the words. The point is that it is immoral to take away another’s happiness or your own?
Without the word moral this would be a wonderful response to the notion of a dilemma but with the word moral in the question you needed to address it a little more.
Hope this helps
JD :grinning: