War Photographer Poem Essay

Analysis of the Poem War Photographer

1435 WordsMay 2nd, 20126 Pages

War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy
In his darkroom he is finally alone with spools of suffering set out in ordered rows.
The only light is red and softly glows, as though this were a church and he a priest preparing to intone a Mass.
Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass.

He has a job to do. Solutions slop in trays beneath his hands which did not tremble then though seem to now. Rural England. to ordinary pain which simple weather can dispel, to fields which don't explode beneath the feet of running children in a nightmare heat.

Something is happening. A stranger's features faintly start to twist before his eyes, a half-formed ghost. He remembers the cries of this man's wife, how he sought approval without words…show more content…

It is seen that the photographer’s feelings are brought out in two contrasting situations, at home and while at warfront. The poet continues to describe the sufferings of the photographer when his mental state is compared as he is travelling between the two contrasting worlds – one the warfront which is full of destruction and chaos and the other is ‘Rural England,’ probably countryside that is peaceful and serene. He compares the pain of war to simple pain of changing weather back at home in England. There being nothing worse then the harsh weather that the children have to face as against the mines that explode on the running feet of the children affected by war. This only tells us that the photographer longs peace and he is deeply moved by the affected children. His prolonged thoughts are presented with great effect by the use of enjambment in this line and this adds to the effect of continuity of thoughts.

From a realistic tone the poet moves on to a mysterious tone when she opens this third stanza with ‘something is happening.’ Probably something unforgettable, frustrating and unbearable is happening. This is unfolded in the subsequent line, ‘half-formed ghost,’ it’s the body of a dead soldier which seems to be haunting the photographer who is dead. His conscience is pricking him for he had to seek the dead soldier’ wife’s s permission

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Choose a poem in which the creation of mood or atmosphere is an important feature.

Show how the poet creates the mood or atmosphere, and discuss its importance in your appreciation of the poem as a whole.

A poem which creates a particular mood is ‘War Photographer’ by Carol Ann Duffy. The poem is about …. The poet makes use of word choice, imagery and structure to initially create the mood and then to show the various things the photographer reflects on: the horrific things he has seen, how his home life compares to his working environment and how he feels about his job.

At the start of the poem, the photographer is in his dark room where the poet creates a sombre reflective mood. In stanza one the photographer is “In his darkroom… finally alone”. This could have the meaning of self isolation because he is in a room by himself and not wanting to be disturbed. The word choice of ‘finally’ here suggests the poet feels some relief to be alone in his darkroom. It could also be argued that the ‘darkroom’ could be a metaphor for his head, his mind and the dark thoughts therein. The mood is one of sadness during the development of these photographs because they are mostly gruesome scenes that he has taken while spending time over there. In fact the undeveloped spools are referred to as “spools of suffering.” These spools are filled with images of immense pain and the photographer sets them out in “ordered rows.” This could symbolise the mass graves of dead people he has seen in warzones but could also show an attempt by him to create order from chaos. This effectively creates a sombre and reflective mood and helps the reader appreciate the difficulty of the man’s job where he longs to get away from the warzone and spend some time in safety, alone and consequently ends up isolated from others.
The photographer begins in the second stanza to reflect on the horrific things he has witnessed in the warzone – this continues the serious and sombre mood of the poem. The photographer thinks back to the warzone and contrasts it with “rural England” where there are “fields which don’t explode beneath the feet/of running children in a nightmare heat.” This phrase and specifically the word choice of ‘don’t’indicates a place where these scenarios do occur. Where people are seriously threatened by explosions and are continuously faced with the dangerous situations and exposed to regular violence.

Mr. Adam

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