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Evaluate and Compare the Writer's Ideas in both 'Poppies' by Jane Weir and 'War Photographer' by Carol Anne Duffy

In this worksheet, students will compare the ideas expressed in both poems and evaluate their effectiveness.

'Evaluate and Compare the Writer's Ideas in both 'Poppies' by Jane Weir and 'War Photographer' by Carol Anne Duffy' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Pearson Edexcel

Curriculum topic:   Poetry, Poetry Anthology Collections

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'Poppies', Conflict: 'Poppies'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

For this activity, you will need to turn to the poem 'Poppies' by Jane Weir and 'War Photographer' by Carol Anne Duffy. Both poems can be found in the Power and Conflict section of your anthology.

 

Both poems contain powerful emotions, but what links them the most is that they are both told from the perspective of someone not involved in the fighting, but still facing the consequences of it.

 

soldiers            camera

The main themes running throughout the poems are grief, war, loss, memory, childhood, innocence and adulthood.

In the following questions, you will compare and evaluate the ideas expressed in both poems.

 

You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples. These quotations are for reference only.

cemetery with poppies

 

In order to compare the writer's ideas in 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer', we need to understand their meaning. Read the poem 'Poppies' and match the questions to the correct answers below:

Column A

Column B

Who is the speaker in this poem?
Blackthorns
What does the mother recall playing with her son?
A songbird
What does she compare his gelled hair with?
Being Eskimos
What does she remember pinning to his lapel?
A poppy
What does the speaker release from its cage?
The mother

 

modern day soldiers

 

Now read the poem 'War Photographer' and match the questions to their answers below:

Column A

Column B

Where has the narrator just come from?
The narrator has been in a country of conflict tak...
What does the narrator do as soon as he arrives ho...
The narrator goes to the dark room to process the ...
How does the narrator feel about the conflict he h...
The narrator is shocked and saddened by the suffer...
How does the narrator feel about the people back i...
He feels that they do not understand how bad the c...

An idea created by both writers is that memories are very powerful and can seem almost real. In the poem 'Poppies' the mother is overcome by grief and memories of her son as a child, and the day he left to go to war.

 

Throughout the poem, the writer creates the idea that the mother's grief is made even worse by the happy memories she has of her son as a child. She not only struggles with the idea of him growing up but also of him heading to danger that she can't protect him from.

 

The following quotations are from the poem 'Poppies'. Which quotation would you choose to support the writer's idea above?

"A split second and you were away"

"The dove pulled freely against the sky"

"Hoping to hear your playground voice catching on the wind"

"I was brave, as I walked with you, to the front door"

Now, let's compare how the writer creates ideas of memories in 'Poppies', with how the writer creates a similar idea in 'War Photographer'.

 

The writer of 'War Photographer' creates the idea that upsetting memories can have a very traumatic effect, which continues long after the event has finished. Even though the photographer has finished their time in the conflict, and they are now safe at home, they cannot just go back to normal life and forget what they have seen.

 

Read the quotations below from 'War Photographer'. Choose two quotations that you think support the idea created by the writer above.

"The reader’s eyeballs prick with tears"

"Home again to ordinary pain"

"He remembers the cries of this man’s wife"

"How the blood stained into foreign dust"

An idea created by both writers of 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer' is that, in conflict, it is often innocent people that suffer or lose their lives. In the poem 'Poppies' it could be said that both the mother and son are classed as innocent people. The young and naive boy loses his life and the mother suffers unbearably because of it.

 

Read the following quotation from the poem 'Poppies'.
"The world overflowing like a treasure chest"
 

 

Choose two of the explanations below which you think explains the writer's idea about the suffering of innocent people.

The boy is looking forward to earning money

The boy is not going to fight, he just wants to experience life

The boy is looking forward to the fighting

The mother, who had nothing to do with the war, has ended up losing her precious son

Now, let's compare how the writer creates ideas about innocent people in 'Poppies', with how the writer creates a similar idea in 'War Photographer'.

 

The writer of 'War Photographer' creates the idea that the most upsetting harm from conflict, is that experienced by the innocent people who live in that country. The photographer has seen, and taken pictures of, many people who have been injured, died or lost a loved one to a war that they were not fighting in.

 

"How he sought approval without words to do what someone must"

 

Read the quotation above from 'War Photographer'. Choose two explanations which you think explains the writer's idea above.

The photographer took pictures without people knowing

The photographer wants people at home to see the suffering caused by conflict

The photographer doesn't believe that people are getting to see how bad the conflict is

The photographer does not want people to see what is going on

An idea created by both writers of 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer' is the idea of frustration at not being able to help people in conflict. In the poem 'Poppies', the mother is left not knowing what has happened to her son and there is nothing she can do to help him.

 

church

 

Read the following quotation from the poem 'Poppies':

"Skirting the churchyard walls"


Choose one of the explanations below which you think explains the writer's idea about frustration at not being able to help.

The mother goes to the church to feel close to her son

The mother is too upset to go to church

The mother walks round and round as she doesn't know what else to do

The mother hopes that the church will help her son

Now, let's compare how the writer creates ideas about the frustration of not being able to help in 'Poppies', with how the writer creates a similar idea in 'War Photographer'.

 

The writer of 'War Photographer' creates the idea that the photographer is annoyed at the people back in England, who do not seem affected by the images of conflict he has taken. The writer is creating the idea that viewing the still images is not as upsetting as seeing the conflict in person.

 

Read the following quotation from War Photographer:

'His editor will pick out five or six for Sunday’s supplement'



Choose TWO of the explanations below which you think explains the writer's idea explained above.

The photographer thinks that all of his images are important

The photographer doesn't want his editor to see the photos

The photographer is frustrated that his editor does not see the importance the images

The photographer can't decide which photo's to choose from

Read the following quotations from 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer'. How do they create the writer's idea that memory is very powerful?

 

 

"...play at being Eskimos like we did when you were little'
"He remembers the cries of this man’s wife"
 

 

In this part of the exam, you will be asked to write a comparison of two poems from the Power and Conflict cluster. For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

 

war memorial

 

Read the following quotations from 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer'. How do they create the idea that innocent people suffer in conflict?

 

"A split second and you were away, intoxicated"

"...fields which don’t explode beneath the feet of running children in a nightmare heat"

 

In this part of the exam, you will be asked to write a comparison of two poems from the Power and Conflict cluster. For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

  • Question 1

cemetery with poppies

 

In order to compare the writer's ideas in 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer', we need to understand their meaning. Read the poem 'Poppies' and match the questions to the correct answers below:

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Who is the speaker in this poem?
The mother
What does the mother recall playi...
Being Eskimos
What does she compare his gelled ...
Blackthorns
What does she remember pinning to...
A poppy
What does the speaker release fro...
A songbird
EDDIE SAYS
The poem is about the nature of grief. The mother is speaking directly to her son, but a son who shifts in time. There is: The son leaving home for school on his own for the first time. The son who has just been killed. Beneath the surface the son dying violently in a field hospital in Afghanistan.
  • Question 2

 

modern day soldiers

 

Now read the poem 'War Photographer' and match the questions to their answers below:

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Where has the narrator just come ...
The narrator has been in a countr...
What does the narrator do as soon...
The narrator goes to the dark roo...
How does the narrator feel about ...
The narrator is shocked and sadde...
How does the narrator feel about ...
He feels that they do not underst...
EDDIE SAYS
Carol Anne Duffy has friends who are war photographers and she has always been fascinated by a job that requires people to record terrible events, without being able to actually help anyone. The poem describes the difficulties of the war photographer, as he struggles to deal with moving between a country in conflict and a peaceful country, where people often take things for granted. The poem also asks us, as readers, to think about our own reaction to the images of conflict which we see in the media.
  • Question 3

An idea created by both writers is that memories are very powerful and can seem almost real. In the poem 'Poppies' the mother is overcome by grief and memories of her son as a child, and the day he left to go to war.

 

Throughout the poem, the writer creates the idea that the mother's grief is made even worse by the happy memories she has of her son as a child. She not only struggles with the idea of him growing up but also of him heading to danger that she can't protect him from.

 

The following quotations are from the poem 'Poppies'. Which quotation would you choose to support the writer's idea above?

CORRECT ANSWER
"Hoping to hear your playground voice catching on the wind"
EDDIE SAYS
In the poem 'Poppies', the writer creates the idea that memories can bring both sadness and happiness. The childhood memories of the boy are clearly a happy time, which the mother still remembers vividly. However, now that her son is gone, she is traumatised by these memories, as they are a reminder of what she has lost.
  • Question 4

Now, let's compare how the writer creates ideas of memories in 'Poppies', with how the writer creates a similar idea in 'War Photographer'.

 

The writer of 'War Photographer' creates the idea that upsetting memories can have a very traumatic effect, which continues long after the event has finished. Even though the photographer has finished their time in the conflict, and they are now safe at home, they cannot just go back to normal life and forget what they have seen.

 

Read the quotations below from 'War Photographer'. Choose two quotations that you think support the idea created by the writer above.

CORRECT ANSWER
"He remembers the cries of this man’s wife"
"How the blood stained into foreign dust"
EDDIE SAYS
The writer of 'War Photographer' creates the idea that, if a memory is powerful, or upsetting enough, it will be very difficult to forget. The photographer could easily forget about the people he has photographed - why wouldn't he? He is safe, he is comfortable and his life is not in danger. The writer is creating the idea that the human cost of conflict, when it is seen in person, is not something that you could forget.
  • Question 5

An idea created by both writers of 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer' is that, in conflict, it is often innocent people that suffer or lose their lives. In the poem 'Poppies' it could be said that both the mother and son are classed as innocent people. The young and naive boy loses his life and the mother suffers unbearably because of it.

 

Read the following quotation from the poem 'Poppies'.
"The world overflowing like a treasure chest"
 

 

Choose two of the explanations below which you think explains the writer's idea about the suffering of innocent people.

CORRECT ANSWER
The boy is not going to fight, he just wants to experience life
The mother, who had nothing to do with the war, has ended up losing her precious son
EDDIE SAYS
This quotation from 'Poppies' explains the writer's idea that many of the young boys who went to war didn't actually understand the violence of what they would get caught up in. The simile of a 'treasure chest' is used to describe how naive the boy is, as he thinks he is off on a great adventure, and not the horrendous place that we know the war to be. The idea of innocent people is also expressed through the mother, who (like many other mothers), loses her much loved son to a war that she didn't want him to go to.
  • Question 6

Now, let's compare how the writer creates ideas about innocent people in 'Poppies', with how the writer creates a similar idea in 'War Photographer'.

 

The writer of 'War Photographer' creates the idea that the most upsetting harm from conflict, is that experienced by the innocent people who live in that country. The photographer has seen, and taken pictures of, many people who have been injured, died or lost a loved one to a war that they were not fighting in.

 

"How he sought approval without words to do what someone must"

 

Read the quotation above from 'War Photographer'. Choose two explanations which you think explains the writer's idea above.

CORRECT ANSWER
The photographer wants people at home to see the suffering caused by conflict
The photographer doesn't believe that people are getting to see how bad the conflict is
EDDIE SAYS
The war photographer feels frustrated that people in England do not have a clear picture of what is happening in the conflict. The quotation "how he sought approval without words to do what someone must" describes a time when he wanted to take pictures of a man who had died. He politely asks permission to do this, as he believes that he has a 'duty' to make sure that everyone gets to see what is happening to these innocent people.
  • Question 7

An idea created by both writers of 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer' is the idea of frustration at not being able to help people in conflict. In the poem 'Poppies', the mother is left not knowing what has happened to her son and there is nothing she can do to help him.

 

church

 

Read the following quotation from the poem 'Poppies':

"Skirting the churchyard walls"


Choose one of the explanations below which you think explains the writer's idea about frustration at not being able to help.

CORRECT ANSWER
The mother walks round and round as she doesn't know what else to do
EDDIE SAYS
It is clear by the end of the poem that the boy has not returned and the mother feels heartbroken and helpless. The quotation "skirting the churchyard walls" explains how she has to do something, even though she knows she cannot help her son. The verb 'skirting' suggests that she is walking round and round in a daze.
  • Question 8

Now, let's compare how the writer creates ideas about the frustration of not being able to help in 'Poppies', with how the writer creates a similar idea in 'War Photographer'.

 

The writer of 'War Photographer' creates the idea that the photographer is annoyed at the people back in England, who do not seem affected by the images of conflict he has taken. The writer is creating the idea that viewing the still images is not as upsetting as seeing the conflict in person.

 

Read the following quotation from War Photographer:

'His editor will pick out five or six for Sunday’s supplement'



Choose TWO of the explanations below which you think explains the writer's idea explained above.

CORRECT ANSWER
The photographer thinks that all of his images are important
The photographer is frustrated that his editor does not see the importance the images
EDDIE SAYS
The writer creates the idea of a sense of frustration throughout the poem, as the photographer wishes that they could help the innocent people. The photographer thinks they are helping them by taking the pictures, but knows that things will only change if other people in England also feel upset by the images - which they don't. The quotation "his editor will pick out five or six for Sunday’s supplement" shows the photographers frustration that his editor does not seem to care about the photo's.
  • Question 9

Read the following quotations from 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer'. How do they create the writer's idea that memory is very powerful?

 

 

"...play at being Eskimos like we did when you were little'
"He remembers the cries of this man’s wife"
 

 

In this part of the exam, you will be asked to write a comparison of two poems from the Power and Conflict cluster. For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Example paragraph: The writers of both 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer' create the idea that memory is powerful enough to cause a person pain for a long time after the event has finished. The narrator of 'Poppies' thinks back to a time "when you were little" and the narrator of 'War Photographer' explains how "he remembers", to show how they are preoccupied with these thoughts. The use of the past tense here shows that both narrators are thinking back to a memory that has greatly affected them. The writer creates the idea that memory has the power to create as much pain as the actual event.

Although the whole of this question is marked out of 30, for this answer the student will only be making one comparison point (AQA recommends that the student makes 3 comparison points throughout the essay) so we will mark this answer out of 10.
In order to gain full marks on this question the student should have written an extended paragraph that follows the PEE structure.
You should find a point, an example and an explanation which links both poems together.
The paragraph should include quotations, language techniques and some evaluation.

  • Question 10

 

war memorial

 

Read the following quotations from 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer'. How do they create the idea that innocent people suffer in conflict?

 

"A split second and you were away, intoxicated"

"...fields which don’t explode beneath the feet of running children in a nightmare heat"

 

In this part of the exam, you will be asked to write a comparison of two poems from the Power and Conflict cluster. For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Example paragraph: The writers of both 'Poppies' and 'War Photographer' create the idea that innocent people are often harmed by conflict. The writer of 'Poppies' uses the alliteration of "split second" to create the idea that the boy was too young to make a decision and did not think about what he was doing. The writer of 'War Photographer' uses the metaphor of "nightmare heat" to explain the violent burning that some children suffer and compare their life to a 'nightmare'. Both writers create the idea that there are many people who suffer through conflict, not just the people fighting.

Although the whole of this question is marked out of 30, for this answer the student will only be making one comparison point (AQA recommends that the student makes 3 comparison points throughout the essay) so we will mark this answer out of 10.
In order to gain full marks on this question the student should have written an extended paragraph that follows the PEE structure.
You should find a point, an example and an explanation which links both poems together.
The paragraph should include quotations, language techniques and some evaluation.

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