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Identify Key Content in Both 'War Photographer' and 'Remains' and Explain How They Compare

In this worksheet, students will identify the key themes in both 'War Photographer' and 'Remains' and explain the similarities between the two poems.

'Identify Key Content in Both 'War Photographer' and 'Remains' and Explain How They Compare' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   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 Ann Duffy and 'Remains' by Simon Armitage. Both poems can be found in 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            

 

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

 

In the following questions, you will look at the similarities between the two poems.

desert tank

 

In order to identify the comparisons in 'Remains' and 'War Photographer', we need to understand the meaning of both poems. Read the poem 'Remains' and match the questions to the correct answers below.

Column A

Column B

Who is the speaker in this poem?
To tackle looters who were raiding a bank
Why have the soldiers been sent out to the town?
He feels guilty about what he did and is haunted b...
What do all three soldiers agree to do?
A soldier recently returned from war
Is the looter a threat to the soldiers?
Open fire on the looter
How does the soldier feel when he is back at home?
The looter was "probably armed, possibly not"

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

Alliteration is used in both 'Remains' and 'War Photographer' to create a sense of panic, disorder and to highlight the violence of war and conflict.

 

 

soldier with gun

 

 

Alliteration = When a series of words begin with the same letter or sound.

 

The quotations below are all taken from the poem 'Remains'. Can you choose one quotation which you think is an example of alliteration?

 

End of story, except not really

He's there on the ground

Every round as it rips through his life

He bursts again through the doors of the bank

Now, let's compare how alliteration is also used in the poem 'War Photographer' to create a sense of the violence and suffering in conflict.

 

camera

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Which ones use alliteration, and which ones do not?

 Quotations that use alliterationQuotations that do not use alliteration
"Spools of suffering set out in ordered rows"
"Five or six for Sunday’s supplement"
"Solutions slop in trays"
"His hands which did not tremble then though seem to now"
"He has a job to do"

Both 'War Photographer' and 'Remains' use imagery and metaphor to allow the reader to picture the terrible effects of war and conflict.

 

Imagery = Visually descriptive language.

 

Metaphor = A direct comparison of two things without using "like" or "as".

 

 

shooting soldiers

 

Let's have a look at how imagery and metaphor are used in the poem 'Remains'. Think about how the poem describes the killing of the looter.

 

Which quotations do you think use imagery and metaphor, and which do not?

 Quotations using imagery and metaphorQuotations not using imagery and metaphor
"Three of a kind all letting fly"
"We got sent out to tackle looters"
"Pain itself the image of agony"
"His bloody life in my bloody hands"
"End of story except not really"

Now, let's compare the imagery and metaphor used in 'Remains', with how it's used in 'War Photographer'.

 

Both poets use imagery and metaphor to describe the horrific things they have seen in war. 

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Choose two quotations that use imagery and metaphor.

"A half-formed ghost"

"In his dark room he is finally alone"

"The only light is red and softly glows"

"A hundred agonies in black and white"

Both 'Remains' and 'War Photographer' highlight the sometimes casual and uncaring attitudes towards conflict.

 

 

desert

 

 

The author of 'Remains' has used examples of colloquial language to show how violent acts have become part of everyday life for some soldiers.

 

Colloquial language = Casual or conversational language.

 

The quotations below are all from the poem 'Remains'. Choose two quotations that you think use colloquial language.

"Pain itself, the image of agony"

"One of them legs it up the road"

"I see broad daylight on the other side"

"One of my mates goes by and tosses his guts back"

Now, let's compare how a casual and uncaring attitude towards conflict is presented in 'Remains', with how it is presented in 'War Photographer'.

 

old photograph

 

The author of 'War Photographer' has used internal rhyme to present this attitude.

 

Internal rhyme = rhyme that occurs within a single line of verse.

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Choose one quotation that you think uses internal rhyme.

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

"He has a job to do"

"A hundred agonies in black and white"

"His editor will pick out five or six"

Both 'Remains' and 'War Photographer' use the power of memory to show how they are still impacted by conflict.

 

 

soldiers

 

Let's have a look at how the power of memory is used in the poem 'Remains'.

 

The following quotations are all from 'Remains'. Choose two that you think show how the soldier cannot stop thinking about the conflict.

"Then he's carted off in the back of a lorry"

"But I blink and he bursts again through the doors of the bank"

"He's here in my head when I close my eyes"

"On another occasion"

Now, let's compare how the power of memory is used in 'Remains', with how it is used in 'War Photographer'.

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Choose two quotations that you think show the power of memory.

"In his dark room he is finally alone"

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

"A stranger’s features faintly start to twist"

"Hands which did not tremble then though seem to now"

"A hundred agonies in black and white"

  • Question 1

desert tank

 

In order to identify the comparisons in 'Remains' and 'War Photographer', we need to understand the meaning of both poems. Read the poem 'Remains' and match the questions to the correct answers below.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Who is the speaker in this poem?
A soldier recently returned from ...
Why have the soldiers been sent o...
To tackle looters who were raidin...
What do all three soldiers agree ...
Open fire on the looter
Is the looter a threat to the sol...
The looter was "probably armed, p...
How does the soldier feel when he...
He feels guilty about what he did...
EDDIE SAYS
This poem is written from the perspective of a soldier who has now returned from war. The poem can be seen to have two parts; as he describes the memory of war and also how he feels now he is at home. Like the "war photographer", the soldier is finding it very hard to forget the conflict he has seen.
  • 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 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 3

Alliteration is used in both 'Remains' and 'War Photographer' to create a sense of panic, disorder and to highlight the violence of war and conflict.

 

 

soldier with gun

 

 

Alliteration = When a series of words begin with the same letter or sound.

 

The quotations below are all taken from the poem 'Remains'. Can you choose one quotation which you think is an example of alliteration?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Every round as it rips through his life
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Every round as it rips through his life" is a good example of alliteration as the harsh ‘r’ sound reflects the violence of the image. It portrays his memory more vividly as it seems to bring it to life through it's sound.
  • Question 4

Now, let's compare how alliteration is also used in the poem 'War Photographer' to create a sense of the violence and suffering in conflict.

 

camera

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Which ones use alliteration, and which ones do not?

CORRECT ANSWER
 Quotations that use alliterationQuotations that do not use alliteration
"Spools of suffering set out in ordered rows"
"Five or six for Sunday’s supplement"
"Solutions slop in trays"
"His hands which did not tremble then though seem to now"
"He has a job to do"
EDDIE SAYS
The poet of 'War Photographer' uses sibilance (alliteration) and metaphor. The use of sibilance highlights this image, which creates a suggestion of graves or bodies "in ordered rows". There is also contrast in this image: "spools of suffering", which seems chaotic, yet in "ordered rows".
  • Question 5

Both 'War Photographer' and 'Remains' use imagery and metaphor to allow the reader to picture the terrible effects of war and conflict.

 

Imagery = Visually descriptive language.

 

Metaphor = A direct comparison of two things without using "like" or "as".

 

 

shooting soldiers

 

Let's have a look at how imagery and metaphor are used in the poem 'Remains'. Think about how the poem describes the killing of the looter.

 

Which quotations do you think use imagery and metaphor, and which do not?

CORRECT ANSWER
 Quotations using imagery and metaphorQuotations not using imagery and metaphor
"Three of a kind all letting fly"
"We got sent out to tackle looters"
"Pain itself the image of agony"
"His bloody life in my bloody hands"
"End of story except not really"
EDDIE SAYS
Both poets use imagery and metaphor to allow the reader to picture the terrible effects of war and conflict. For example, the repetition of "bloody" shows us that this memory of death keeps returning. It also suggests that his tortured memories of war are flooded with guilt for taking this man’s life, making the reader sympathise with him.
  • Question 6

Now, let's compare the imagery and metaphor used in 'Remains', with how it's used in 'War Photographer'.

 

Both poets use imagery and metaphor to describe the horrific things they have seen in war. 

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Choose two quotations that use imagery and metaphor.

CORRECT ANSWER
"A half-formed ghost"
"A hundred agonies in black and white"
EDDIE SAYS
Both poets use imagery and metaphor to allow the reader to picture the terrible effects of war and conflict. For example, the scenes in his negatives are compared to "agonies", a powerful noun to tell us about the pain of conflict. Because they are in "black-and-white" they have been made to seem merely factual or simplified. The poet seems to be suggesting that their pain is not given enough recognition. The "half-formed ghost" is a metaphor and creates the idea that the man remembers the people he photographed as they start to appear on the paper, like a ghost slowly appearing.
  • Question 7

Both 'Remains' and 'War Photographer' highlight the sometimes casual and uncaring attitudes towards conflict.

 

 

desert

 

 

The author of 'Remains' has used examples of colloquial language to show how violent acts have become part of everyday life for some soldiers.

 

Colloquial language = Casual or conversational language.

 

The quotations below are all from the poem 'Remains'. Choose two quotations that you think use colloquial language.

CORRECT ANSWER
"One of them legs it up the road"
"One of my mates goes by and tosses his guts back"
EDDIE SAYS
Both poets highlight the sometimes casual and uncaring attitudes towards conflict. For example, this use of colloquial language, which occurs mainly in the first half of the poem, makes the description of killing seem casual. In the second half, the tone is less casual as he explains his memories and how "the drugs won’t flush him out". The use of imagery here shows his tortured mind.
  • Question 8

Now, let's compare how a casual and uncaring attitude towards conflict is presented in 'Remains', with how it is presented in 'War Photographer'.

 

old photograph

 

The author of 'War Photographer' has used internal rhyme to present this attitude.

 

Internal rhyme = rhyme that occurs within a single line of verse.

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Choose one quotation that you think uses internal rhyme.

CORRECT ANSWER
"The reader’s eyeballs prick with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers"
EDDIE SAYS
Both poets highlight the sometimes casual and uncaring attitudes towards conflict. For example, Duffy uses internal rhyme in this poem in a few places, possibly as a way of exploring the war photographer’s internal feelings of conflict. For the newspaper readers, seeing these images only affects them for a short while and their lives continue as normal, unlike the victims of war.
  • Question 9

Both 'Remains' and 'War Photographer' use the power of memory to show how they are still impacted by conflict.

 

 

soldiers

 

Let's have a look at how the power of memory is used in the poem 'Remains'.

 

The following quotations are all from 'Remains'. Choose two that you think show how the soldier cannot stop thinking about the conflict.

CORRECT ANSWER
"But I blink and he bursts again through the doors of the bank"
"He's here in my head when I close my eyes"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "But I blink and he bursts through the doors again" tells the reader that even when he is back at home, the soldier cannot stop seeing the images from conflict. As soon as he closes his eyes or "blinks" his memories are back again. Similarly, the quotation "He's here in my head when I close my eyes" tells the reader that he has nightmares about what he has seen.
  • Question 10

Now, let's compare how the power of memory is used in 'Remains', with how it is used in 'War Photographer'.

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Choose two quotations that you think show the power of memory.

CORRECT ANSWER
"He remembers the cries of this man’s wife"
"Hands which did not tremble then though seem to now"
EDDIE SAYS
When the photographer looks at the images he says he "remembers the cries of this man's wife" which informs the reader that the memories associated with this photo are very strong and upset him still. He also says "hands which did not tremble then though seem to now" which tells us that his memories are so powerful that they have a physical effect on him.
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