Carol Ann Duffy War Photographer Poem

analytical Essay
941 words
941 words

‘War Photographer’ differs structurally from ‘Prayer Before Birth’. Firstly it is a narrative and the voice is the poet’s itself, as opposed to a persona. It also follows a conventional structure of 4 stanzas with an equal number of lines where each ends on a rhyming couplet as if to conclude argument. This also keeps the readers interested in the poem or the particular phrase as it creates a flow of rhythm. Alternatively, ‘Prayer before Birth’ is written in free verse and uses alliteration and assonance to create rhythm. The structure of the poem also supports this dichotomy in that there are two contrasting worlds: the world of war zones (‘Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh.’) and the quieter and calmer world of ‘Rural England’. The photographer is portrayed as a struggling man who wants to adapt back into ‘normal’ life having witnessed such tragedies. The war has made everyday life meaningless and trivial to him in comparison to the suffering experienced by others. The sentence structure also helps emphasise the contrast the poet is creating between everyday life back in leafy England and the shocking reality of a war zone.
In the poem ‘War Photographer’, Carol Ann Duffy makes reference to various literacy techniques throughout her poem to explore the theme of corruption. “With spools of suffering set out in ordered rows”. The metaphor ‘spools of suffering’ expresses the effects of war. This is an effective technique as Duffy is subverting the conventional connotations of camera spools. Camera spools are generally filled with occasions of happiness. In this instance these photographs show the grim reality of war. The alliteration in the quote ‘spools of suffering’ is ambiguous. It may seem as if it is sibilance as its sounds soft and...

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...ying to walk but every step seems hard work. Then Achebe goes on to say how other mothers are no longer concerned with these issues, “Other mothers there had long ceased to care, but not this one”. This indicates that the mothers in the area can no longer cope with the struggle of surviving and now only await death. However this mother does not fall into the same category. This portrays cynical images of corrupt humanity as the lives of refugees are more of a struggle rather than entertainment and peace and a mother would give up on her child as it was a lifeless symbol because she does not want to feel the pain. And although it may seem as Achebe is blaming the mothers as they don’t offer their children hope or happiness, it is not their burden because they are left with no happier choice to live their lives compared to suffering the grief of their petals decaying.

In this essay, the author

  • Compares the structure of ‘war photographer’ and ‘prayer before birth’, which is written in free verse and uses alliteration and assonance to create rhythm.
  • Analyzes how carol ann duffy's poem 'war photographer' uses literacy techniques to explore the theme of corruption. the metaphor of spools of suffering expresses the effects of war.
  • Analyzes how duffy illustrates the extent of human hospitality by quoting "the reader's eyeballs prick with tears between bath and pre-lunch beers".
  • Analyzes how duffy's poem "shooting stars" explores the extent of love and care of the human race.
  • Compares ‘mother in a refugee camp’ to ‘prayer before birth’, which is written in free-verse and follows no regular rhythm or rhyme.
  • Analyzes how chinua achebe's "mother in a refugee camp" explores the theme of corruption by portraying the miserable image of mother holding her dying son in her hands for the last time.
  • Analyzes how achebe uses the environment to describe the aura of disease, sickness and death which surrounds the refugees.
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