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Evaluate the Language Techniques Used in the Poem 'War Photographer' by Carol Ann Duffy

In this worksheet, students will evaluate the language devices used in the poem 'War Photographer' by Carol Ann Duffy. They will also gain an understanding of the wider context of the poem.

'Evaluate the Language Techniques Used in the Poem 'War Photographer' by Carol Ann 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: 'War Photographer', 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 evaluate the language devices used in the poem.

In order to evaluate the language used in 'War Photographer', we first need to understand the meaning of the poem. Read the poem 'War Photographer' and match the questions to the 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...
He feels that they do not realise how bad the conf...
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 is shocked and saddened by the suffer...

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 uses a simile to create religious imagery to describe the developing of the photographs?

 

church candles

 

Evaluate the use of this religious imagery. Why do you think the poet used it?

 

Religious imagery is used to represent the photographer as a Priest

The religious imagery reflects the religion of the people who have died

The poet uses religious imagery to create the peaceful and respectful atmosphere of the darkroom

In the last line of the first stanza, the poet uses a metaphor.

 

"All flesh is grass"

 

grass

 

Evaluate the language device used here.
 
The people in conflict deserve a proper burial

Even though all bodies return to the soil, the war zones have much more death occurring than other places

Death is all around us

In the second stanza of 'War Photographer', the poet creates a contrast between how he felt when he was taking pictures of the conflict and how he feels back in England.

 

The poet uses alliteration and verbs to create this evaluation.

 

Which quotation would you use for the evaluation above?

 

"Ordinary pain which simple weather can dispel"

"Solutions slop in trays beneath his hands which did not tremble then though seem to now"

"To fields which don’t explode beneath the feet"

"Running children in a nightmare heat"

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

 

The following quotation uses verbs and a metaphor to describe what life is like for children in a war zone.

 

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

 

child running

 

Choose one evaluation from the list below which you think goes best with this quotation.

 

The poet creates the impression that children in England are very lucky to be able to run in fields where there is no danger to their lives, unlike the children of war zones

The poet enjoyed seeing the children in the war zone being able to run around and wishes they had more chance to do this

The children in the war zone enjoyed simple pleasures such as running in fields, as they don't have many games to play

In the third stanza of 'War Photographer', the poet uses a metaphor to explain how "A stranger's features faintly start to twist before his eyes, a half-formed ghost".

 

Metaphor = the 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 final stanza of 'War Photographer', the narrator describes how:

 

"The reader’s eyeballs prick
with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers"

 

bath tub

 

This quotation creates the impression that, although the reader feels upset at the images the photographer has taken, this feeling will not last long, as their lives are too busy with the luxuries they have.

 

Underline the words from the quotation that you would use to support this evaluation.

\"The reader’s eyeballs prick with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers\"

Read the following quotation from the poem 'War Photographer'. Can you explain the evaluate the language 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.​

graves in a row

 

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

 

"Spools of suffering set out in ordered rows"

 

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

  • Question 1

In order to evaluate the language used in 'War Photographer', we first need to understand the meaning of the poem. 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 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 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 uses a simile to create religious imagery to describe the developing of the photographs?

 

church candles

 

Evaluate the use of this religious imagery. Why do you think the poet used it?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poet uses religious imagery to create the peaceful and respectful atmosphere of the darkroom
EDDIE SAYS
The narrator uses a simile to compare himself to a priest conducting Mass, which suggests that the photographer takes his work seriously and performs it like a ceremony. There are many references to religion in the first stanza which all create a peaceful atmosphere and signify the respect that the narrator feels for the people who have died.
  • Question 4

In the last line of the first stanza, the poet uses a metaphor.

 

"All flesh is grass"

 

grass

 

Evaluate the language device used here.
 
CORRECT ANSWER
Even though all bodies return to the soil, the war zones have much more death occurring than other places
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "all flesh is grass" is another biblical reference which creates the impression that there is so much death in the war zones that the bodies are turning into earth. This could be a direct reference to the dead man described in the third stanza who is left on the ground once he has been killed.
  • Question 5

In the second stanza of 'War Photographer', the poet creates a contrast between how he felt when he was taking pictures of the conflict and how he feels back in England.

 

The poet uses alliteration and verbs to create this evaluation.

 

Which quotation would you use for the evaluation above?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Solutions slop in trays beneath his hands which did not tremble then though seem to now"
EDDIE SAYS
In the quotation "solutions slop in trays beneath his hands" the poet uses alliteration with the double use of the letter 's'. He also uses the verb slop to create the impression of the liquid almost spilling out of the tray. This quotation creates the impression that although the poet takes great care when developing the photos, he is so upset by the images that he is trembling.
  • 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 quotation uses verbs and a metaphor to describe what life is like for children in a war zone.

 

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

 

child running

 

Choose one evaluation from the list below which you think goes best with this quotation.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poet creates the impression that children in England are very lucky to be able to run in fields where there is no danger to their lives, unlike the children of war zones
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 like a nightmare and the verbs "explode" and "running" show the violent life that the children face. Children from both countries will enjoy "running", but the difference is that children from war zones often pay the price with their lives.
  • Question 7

In the third stanza of 'War Photographer', the poet uses a metaphor to explain how "A stranger's features faintly start to twist before his eyes, a half-formed ghost".

 

Metaphor = the 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 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 final stanza of 'War Photographer', the narrator describes how:

 

"The reader’s eyeballs prick
with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers"

 

bath tub

 

This quotation creates the impression that, although the reader feels upset at the images the photographer has taken, this feeling will not last long, as their lives are too busy with the luxuries they have.

 

Underline the words from the quotation that you would use to support this evaluation.

CORRECT ANSWER
"The reader’s eyeballs prick
with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers"
EDDIE SAYS
This quotation is very effective in showing the narrator's annoyance with the readers of the newspaper. The narrator is frustrated that the sympathy the readers feel will only last a short time because they will soon be occupied by their "bath" and "pre-lunch beers". These words have been chosen purposely as they are both luxuries that a person living in a war zone would not have access to.
  • Question 9

Read the following quotation from the poem 'War Photographer'. Can you explain the evaluate the language 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 "hundreds" of these images creates the impression that the suffering is a vast 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

graves in a row

 

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

 

"Spools of suffering set out in ordered rows"

 

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 shows his respect for the people that he has photographed and who he believes have suffered greatly. He describes his rolls of film as "spools of suffering set out in ordered rows" with the metaphor "spools of suffering" describing how the films are full of the horrors of war. The adjective "ordered" seems to contrast the chaos of war and could reflect the rows of headstones that the people never got to have. The reader is given the impression that this is not just a job to the photographer and he wants to give the people in the images dignity and respect.

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

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