How does Duffy’s treatment of themes of war and death involve the reader in the poem ‘war photographer’?

analytical Essay
922 words
922 words

Carol Ann Duffy’s poem ‘War Photographer’ shows the life and actions of a photographer and portrays how unappreciative we are of what the photographer has to see and go through to take photographs. The poem shows that photographers are doing their duty, but we are not reacting to the photographs in the way that we should be. ‘War photographer’ tries to put a point across to make us realise that war is wrong and the public have become hardened to it. War in the media does not affect us as much as it should do. The editors use gory pictures to shock the readers as something that is disturbing shows the darker side of humanity. While the editors put in pictures of people suffering and facing death, their best interests are not for the people in the picture, but are in the readers, as the more shocking the pictures are the more people buy the paper. That fact that we buy papers because of the explicit photos show us how much we have become hardened to war and that there is also a small element of enjoyment when we see the pictures. This is reflected in the editors of the “Sunday Supplements” who choose the five or six photos for the ‘hundred agonies’.

Throughout the poem Duffy has used symbolism of words to create an ominous feel. In the first paragraph of the poem the photographer is in the “darkroom” where “The only light is red”. The “darkroom” symbolises hatred, evil and death which ties in with the “red” light which symbolises death and blood. Also conveying the theme is the photographer, who has ‘spools of suffering set out in ordered rows.’ which portrays mass murder and thousand of graves as does ‘all flesh is grass’ which shows how people are seen as dispensable; “grass” can re-grow, which means that people are nev...

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... that is never ending and wants us to realise this so we can try to break the cycle.

Carol Anne Duffy uses the ‘War Photographer’ to portray the destruction and devastation that the war tends to bring. I get the idea that the photographer doesn't really enjoy his job as he has painful memories as he 'remembers the cries' this shows that seeing people dying is something that he never forgot about. The war photographer is going through a lot of emotional pain and damage to take war photographs, Duffy uses the poem to show that the readers do not appreciate him nearly as much as they should do. Duffy has a view that war is filled with pain and that people in peaceful society can’t really understand the full impact of war and therefore we have become hardened to it and need to do something to stop the disaster in other countries from repeating itself over and over.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes carol ann duffy's poem 'war photographer', which shows the life and actions of a photographer, and how the editors use gory pictures to shock the readers.
  • Analyzes how duffy uses symbolism of words to create an ominous feel in the poem.
  • Analyzes how the poet uses contrast to demonstrate where the photographer has been and what is happening back home.
  • Analyzes how the use of imagery is vital throughout the poem as it helps to make us realise the horrors of war.
  • Analyzes how the photographer feels that the pictures he takes are pointless as nobody is listening or caring, and in the end they are only used to sell newspapers.
  • Analyzes duffy's use of a regular form throughout the poem to create the effect of the war photographer just being an ordinary person. she tries to show that war is never ending and wants us to break the cycle.
  • Analyzes how carol anne duffy uses the ‘war photographer’ to portray the destruction and devastation that the war tends to bring.
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