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Apply your Understanding and Analyse the Language in the Poem 'War Photographer'

In this worksheet, students will apply their understanding of the key quotes in the poem and analyse the language devices used.

'Apply your Understanding and Analyse the Language in the Poem 'War Photographer'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   Pearson Edexcel, AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry Anthology Collections, Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   Conflict: 'War Photographer', Power and Conflict: 'War Photographer'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

For this activity, you will need to turn to the poem 'War Photographer' by Carol Anne Duffy, which can be found in your anthology.

 

camera

 

This poem explores the life of a war photographer, who takes pictures of conflicts for British newspapers. The poem takes us inside the man's thoughts and work, creating a sense of the brutality of war and the indifference (not caring) of those who live in comfort. War photographers are real people who risk their lives to take pictures of conflict - they help us visualise the horrors of war across the world.

 

In the following questions, you will be asked to analyse the language used in the poem.

war planes

 

In order to analyse the language used in 'War Photographer', we first need to understand the poems meaning. Read the poem 'War Photographer' and match the questions to the answers below:

Column A

Column B

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

soldiers

 

 

Now that you have read the poem 'War Photographer', which summary do you think best explains the poem?

 

The photographer is a priest who has visited war zones and taken photographs of the atrocities. He hopes that the horror he has recorded will make people want to take action to stop it, but when he returns to England it only makes people pause for a moment

A photographer is in his dark room developing pictures he has taken from a war zone. As a photgraph develops he remembers a man who had died and how upset his wife was. He compares this to the safe and comfortable lives of the people in "rural England"

A photographer is developing photos in his dark room of images of conflict. He feels annoyed that only some of the images will be seen and it causes him distress to have to choose which ones are important, when he sees them all as being this

Read the first stanza of 'War Photographer'. Can you see where the poet has used a simile, to create religious imagery, to describe the developing of the photographs?

 

church candles

 

 

Read the extract below and underline any words associated with religious imagery.

 

\"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\"

On the last line of the first stanza, the narrator of War Photographer gives a list of countries and then says the following.

 

"All flesh is grass"

 

grass

 
 
What language device is he using here?

 

Simile

Personification

Mataphor

Onomatopoeia

In the second stanza of 'War Photographer', the poet describes how "solutions slop in trays beneath his hands". This is a contrast between how he felt when he was taking pictures of the conflict and how he feels back in England.

 

What language devices are used here? Choose two from the list below.

Metaphor

Alliteration

Onomatopoeia

Verb

Also in the second stanza of 'War Photographer', the narrator contrasts the lives of children in war zones, with children in England.

 

The following extract explains what life is like for children in a war zone, using very violent language:

 

"To fields which don't explode beneath the feet of running children in nightmare heat"

 

 

child running

 

 

If you were to analyse this quotation for language devices, which two would you choose from the list below?

Metaphor

Personification

Onomatopoeia

Alliteration

Verbs

The phrase "A stranger's features faintly start to twist before his eyes, a half-formed ghost" is a metaphor.

 

Metaphor = a direct comparison of two things without using the words "like" or "as".

 

old photo

 

Why do you think the poet has chosen to use this language device?

 

Someone slowly appears in the dark room

An image slowly appears on the photograph of a person who has died

The photographer feels like there is a ghost in the room

The photographer cannot get the images out of his head

Also in the third stanza of 'War Photographer', the narrator uses emotive language when he explains how he:

 

"Remembers the cries of this mans wife"

 

Emotive language = A deliberate choice of words to create emotion.

 

This quotation tells the reader that he was not only upset by the death of the man, but also by the distress caused to the man's family.

 

Which words do you think explain the narrator's emotions here, and which do not?

 Words which explain his emotionsWords which do not explain his emotions
"Helpless"
"Tired"
"Distressed"
"Regretful"
"Shocked"
"Guilty"
"Annoyed"
"Happy"

Read the following quotation from the poem War Photographer. Can you explain the language device used in this quotation?

 

 

"A hundred agonies in black and white"

 

 

For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.​

Language techniques are used throughout the poem 'War Photographer'. They are a fantastic way of creating imagery for the reader.

 

Can you match the language technique to the definition?

Column A

Column B

Alliteration
Describing an inanimate human or animal with human...
Simile
Direct comparison of two things without using the ...
Onomatopoeia
Words beginning with the same letter sounds
Metaphor
Comparing two or more objects using the words "lik...
Personification
Words which sound like the effect they describe
  • Question 1

war planes

 

In order to analyse the language used in 'War Photographer', we first need to understand the poems meaning. Read the poem 'War Photographer' and match the questions to the 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 realise...
EDDIE SAYS
Carol Ann 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 in the position to 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 2

soldiers

 

 

Now that you have read the poem 'War Photographer', which summary do you think best explains the poem?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
A photographer is in his dark room developing pictures he has taken from a war zone. As a photgraph develops he remembers a man who had died and how upset his wife was. He compares this to the safe and comfortable lives of the people in "rural England"
EDDIE SAYS
The poem is about the difficulties a war photographer faces when his job requires him to record horrific events, without being able to help. Before digital photography, photographs were taken on film! They then had to be processed with chemicals in a dark room. Images developed slowly and had to be hung up to dry.
  • Question 3

Read the first stanza of 'War Photographer'. Can you see where the poet has used a simile, to create religious imagery, to describe the developing of the photographs?

 

church candles

 

 

Read the extract below and underline any words associated with religious imagery.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"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"
EDDIE SAYS
The narrator uses simile to compare himself to a priest conducting Mass, which suggests that the photographer takes his work seriously and performs it almost like a ceremony. There are many references to religion in the first stanza.
  • Question 4

On the last line of the first stanza, the narrator of War Photographer gives a list of countries and then says the following.

 

"All flesh is grass"

 

grass

 
 
What language device is he using here?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Mataphor
EDDIE SAYS
This quotation is a metaphor, a comparison of two things without using the words "like" or "as". The quotation "All flesh is grass" is another biblical reference, which creates the impression that there's so much death in the war zones that bodies are all turning into earth.
  • Question 5

In the second stanza of 'War Photographer', the poet describes how "solutions slop in trays beneath his hands". This is a contrast between how he felt when he was taking pictures of the conflict and how he feels back in England.

 

What language devices are used here? Choose two from the list below.

CORRECT ANSWER
Alliteration
Verb
EDDIE SAYS
In the quotation "solutions slop in trays beneath his hands" the poet uses alliteration with the double use of the letter 's'. Duffy also uses the verb "slop" to create the impression of the liquid almost spilling out of the tray.
  • Question 6

Also in the second stanza of 'War Photographer', the narrator contrasts the lives of children in war zones, with children in England.

 

The following extract explains what life is like for children in a war zone, using very violent language:

 

"To fields which don't explode beneath the feet of running children in nightmare heat"

 

 

child running

 

 

If you were to analyse this quotation for language devices, which two would you choose from the list below?

CORRECT ANSWER
Metaphor
Verbs
EDDIE SAYS
The narrator uses this quotation to shock the reader into realising what childhood is like for children in war zones. The metaphor "nightmare heat" is used to describe how the children's life is nightmarish and the verbs "explode" and "running" show the violent life that the children face.
  • Question 7

The phrase "A stranger's features faintly start to twist before his eyes, a half-formed ghost" is a metaphor.

 

Metaphor = a direct comparison of two things without using the words "like" or "as".

 

old photo

 

Why do you think the poet has chosen to use this language device?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
An image slowly appears on the photograph of a person who has died
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "A stranger's features faintly start to twist before his eyes, a half-formed ghost" is a metaphor used to describe how the image slowly appears as the photo is being developed. He calls the image a ghost as the person has died and is now "appearing" again.
  • Question 8

Also in the third stanza of 'War Photographer', the narrator uses emotive language when he explains how he:

 

"Remembers the cries of this mans wife"

 

Emotive language = A deliberate choice of words to create emotion.

 

This quotation tells the reader that he was not only upset by the death of the man, but also by the distress caused to the man's family.

 

Which words do you think explain the narrator's emotions here, and which do not?

CORRECT ANSWER
 Words which explain his emotionsWords which do not explain his emotions
"Helpless"
"Tired"
"Distressed"
"Regretful"
"Shocked"
"Guilty"
"Annoyed"
"Happy"
EDDIE SAYS
This is a very emotive quotation as the man is clearly distressed and shocked by the terrible things he has seen. The narrator even feels guilty that he is taking pictures, but knows the wife wants him to, so that people back in England can see what is happening in the war zone.
  • Question 9

Read the following quotation from the poem War Photographer. Can you explain the language device used in this quotation?

 

 

"A hundred agonies in black and white"

 

 

For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.​

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Example answer: The poet wants the reader to understand how much suffering is going on across the world and explains how the narrator has "A hundred agonies in black and white". The poet uses a metaphor here to compare the images to "agonies" which creates the impression that the people are suffering badly and the fact that he has a "hundred" of these images creates the impression that this suffering is a large problem.

Although the whole of this question is marked out of 30, for this answer the student will only be making one point (AQA recommends that a student makes 3 comparison points throughout the essay) so we will mark this answer out of 6.
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.
The paragraph should include a quotation, language technique and some evaluation.

  • Question 10

Language techniques are used throughout the poem 'War Photographer'. They are a fantastic way of creating imagery for the reader.

 

Can you match the language technique to the definition?

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Alliteration
Words beginning with the same let...
Simile
Comparing two or more objects usi...
Onomatopoeia
Words which sound like the effect...
Metaphor
Direct comparison of two things w...
Personification
Describing an inanimate human or ...
EDDIE SAYS
The techniques above are just a few of the ones frequently used in poetry. They are really useful to use when writing an explanation of a quotation, as they help to describe how an effect has been created. They also bump up your marks when used correctly! Well done if you managed to match them all and for finishing another activity!
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