Duffy's Feelings in War Photographer and Stealing

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Duffy's Feelings in War Photographer and Stealing

Explain how Carol Ann Duffy conveys her feelings towards the subjects

of the two poems War Photographer and Stealing.

'War Photographer' and 'Stealing' by Carol Ann Duffy are both poems

about outsiders. She often uses dramatic monologues when writing

poems, and 'Stealing' is an effective example.

'War Photographer' was written after Duffy had a conversation with a

war photographer named Don McCullin. I believe that he must have

inspired her to write this laudable poem. 'Stealing' too is based on a

true event. When Duffy lived in Wimbledon her neighbours snowman was


The setting of this poem is established on the first line; this being

in a 'dark room' where 'he is finally alone'. Because the setting is

away from the action of the war, it describes the results indirectly

so that it is less graphic, whereas 'Stealing' explores the psychology

of an anonymous outsider with anti-social behaviour and feelings. Like

'War Photographer', 'Stealing' is about someone who is isolated from

society and shows evidence of being distressed. However, in this poem,

the narrator is the character and he is angry and resentful.

In both of the poems she uses the expressions and speech rhythms of an

everyday conversation. 'Stealing' starts with a question, 'The most

unusual thing I ever stole?', which I think, makes the poem more

interesting and intriguing for the readers as well as making it more

conversational. The question is then answered with 'A snowman'. This

is quite a shocking and unusual thing to steal and I believe this will

grab the reader's interest. By making the poem more conversational, it

makes it more personal and gets us more intrigued and makes us think

about the unusual question at the start of the poem. This is effective

as it makes the poem feel more realistic to the readers and conveys

her feelings to the poem in a more personal manner.

Both of the poems are about anonymous people. In 'War Photographer'

the main character is identified as a man. Duffy portrays this man as

an outsider. She refers to him as a 'priest preparing to intone a

mass'. 'All flesh is grass' is another effective example of religious

imagery. I believe it means that there was so much death where he was

photographing that the grass was covered in bodies. It is also linked

to the Bible as it is said to mean 'walking on death'. The use of

religion in this poem has a strong link to Duffy as she is said to be

a Catholic. This makes the poem more personal as it shows that

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