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Understand and Analyse Language Technique in 'Remains' and 'War Photographer'

In this worksheet, students will identify the language techniques used in both 'Remains' and 'War Photographer' and explain their effect on the reader.

'Understand and Analyse Language Technique in 'Remains' and 'War Photographer'' 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 Ann Duffy and 'Remains' by Simon Armitage. Both poems can be found in the your anthology.

 

Both poems explore the haunting memories of war, from the perspective of a war photographer and a soldier.

 

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 language techniques used in both poems.

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

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?
He feels that they do not understand how bad the c...
What does the narrator do as soon as they arrive h...
The narrator has been in a country of conflict tak...
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...

Juxtaposition is used in both 'Remains' and 'War Photographer' to compare the horror of conflict with the working lives that the soldier and photographer have to try to get used to when they get back home.

 

 

contrasting signs

 

 

Juxtaposition = two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

 

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

 

"End of story, except not really"

"He's there on the ground"

"And tosses his guts back into his body"

"He bursts again through the doors of the bank"

Now, let's compare how juxtaposition is used in the poem 'War Photographer' to create a sense of the contrast between England and the war zone.

 

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

 Quotations that use JUXTAPOSITIONQuotations that do NOT use JUXTAPOSITION
"Spools of suffering set out in ordered rows"
"A priest preparing to intone a mass"
"Solutions slop in trays"
"His hands which did not tremble then though seem to now"
"Tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers"

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

 

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

 

 

shooting soldiers

 

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

 

Match the use of metaphor to the correct explanation.

 

Column A

Column B

"His blood-shadow stays on the street"
The poet uses this comparison to explain how even ...
"When I close my eyes dug in behind enemy lines"
The memory of the killing is stored deep within th...

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

 

 

aeroplanes at war

 

 

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

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Choose two quotations that use 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' use a pun to introduce a sense of dark humour into the poems.

 

 

desert

 

 

The author of 'Remains' has used a pun to contrast how the soldier felt when he was fighting in the conflict, to how he feels once he is at home.

 

Pun = a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings.

 

The quotations below are all from the poem 'Remains'. Choose one quotation that you think is an example of a pun.

"Pain itself, the image of agony"

"His bloody life in my bloody hands"

"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 pun is used in 'Remains', with how it is used in 'War Photographer'.

 

old photograph

 

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Choose one quotation that you think is an example of a pun.

"A hundred agonies in black and white"

"He has a job to do"

"A hundred agonies in black and white"

"His editor will pick out five or six"

The poem 'War Photographer' uses a collective pronoun to make a strong point about how many people do not care enough about people in war zones.

 

 

soldiers

 

Collective noun = Collective nouns are names for a collection or a number of people/things.

 

The following quotations are all from 'Remains'. Choose one that you think is an example of a collective pronoun.

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

"He earns his living and they do not care"

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

"On another occasion"

misty forest

 

Read the following quotations from 'Remains' and 'War Photographer'. Compare how they both use a metaphor to describe the horror of war?

 

"His blood-shadow stays on the street"

 

"A half-formed ghost"

 

In this part of the exam, you will be asked to write a comparison of two poems from your anthology. 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

In order to compare the language techniques used 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 returned from war. The poem can be seen as having 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 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 war photographers face 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

Juxtaposition is used in both 'Remains' and 'War Photographer' to compare the horror of conflict with the working lives that the soldier and photographer have to try to get used to when they get back home.

 

 

contrasting signs

 

 

Juxtaposition = two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

 

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

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"And tosses his guts back into his body"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "And tosses his guts back into his body" is a good example of juxtaposition, between the nature of what is happening; a violent killing, starkly contrasted to the relaxed tone in which the narrator talks about the event. The verb "tosses" is a much too casual way to be treating a dead body.
  • Question 4

Now, let's compare how juxtaposition is used in the poem 'War Photographer' to create a sense of the contrast between England and the war zone.

 

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

CORRECT ANSWER
 Quotations that use JUXTAPOSITIONQuotations that do NOT use JUXTAPOSITION
"Spools of suffering set out in ordered rows"
"A priest preparing to intone a mass"
"Solutions slop in trays"
"His hands which did not tremble then though seem to now"
"Tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers"
EDDIE SAYS
In the quotation "A priest preparing to intone a mass" we see the contrasting idea of a church with the warzones listed. This also emphasises the scale of horror the photographer has seen. "Tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers" also employs juxtaposition, as "tears" with the very comfortable images of "bath" and "pre-lunch beers" can be read almost angrily, their tears are meaningless. That is, the horrors of war cause a small pause in their life, not of real worth to them.
  • Question 5

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

 

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

 

 

shooting soldiers

 

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

 

Match the use of metaphor to the correct explanation.

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"His blood-shadow stays on the st...
The poet uses this comparison to ...
"When I close my eyes dug in behi...
The memory of the killing is stor...
EDDIE SAYS
The poet uses a metaphor for the memory of the man and events. The "blood-shadow" creates an image of death, and the "shadow" suggests that the killing is a lingering memory that resurfaces every time the soldier passes that street. The phrase "dug in" is used to compare how deep this memory is in the soldiers head, it suggests that he will never stop thinking about the dead man.
  • Question 6

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

 

 

aeroplanes at war

 

 

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

 

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

CORRECT ANSWER
"A half-formed ghost"
"A hundred agonies in black and white"
EDDIE SAYS
Both poets use 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 suggest 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' use a pun to introduce a sense of dark humour into the poems.

 

 

desert

 

 

The author of 'Remains' has used a pun to contrast how the soldier felt when he was fighting in the conflict, to how he feels once he is at home.

 

Pun = a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings.

 

The quotations below are all from the poem 'Remains'. Choose one quotation that you think is an example of a pun.

CORRECT ANSWER
"His bloody life in my bloody hands"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "His bloody life in my bloody hands" is an example of a pun as it shows the bitter/dark humour of "blood", meaning covered in blood, but also an expression of anger/hate. The soldier is in conflict with this dead man, in his own mind. This quotation ends the poem with a sense of despair and leaves it open-ended.
  • Question 8

Now, let's compare how a pun is used in 'Remains', with how it is used in 'War Photographer'.

 

old photograph

 

 

The quotations below are all from 'War Photographer'. Choose one quotation that you think is an example of a pun.

CORRECT ANSWER
"A hundred agonies in black and white"
"A hundred agonies in black and white"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "A hundred agonies in black and white" uses dark humour, as in one way it's a reference to the "black and white" contrast of a newspaper, but also emphasises how the photographer thinks the situation is "black and white" (meaning obvious). He cannot believe that people do not see the horror of war in the same way that he does.
  • Question 9

The poem 'War Photographer' uses a collective pronoun to make a strong point about how many people do not care enough about people in war zones.

 

 

soldiers

 

Collective noun = Collective nouns are names for a collection or a number of people/things.

 

The following quotations are all from 'Remains'. Choose one that you think is an example of a collective pronoun.

CORRECT ANSWER
"He earns his living and they do not care"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "He earns his living and they do not care" uses an accusatory tone. The photographer is grouping together the readers of the newspaper, as he feels as though they are all the same in that they do not care enough about the victims of war zones. This final line emphasises his resentment of the luxury life they lead as their ignorance.
  • Question 10

misty forest

 

Read the following quotations from 'Remains' and 'War Photographer'. Compare how they both use a metaphor to describe the horror of war?

 

"His blood-shadow stays on the street"

 

"A half-formed ghost"

 

In this part of the exam, you will be asked to write a comparison of two poems from your anthology. 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: Both 'Remains' and 'War Photographer' use a metaphor to describe an image of conflict that they cannot forget. The soldier in 'Remains' says "his blood-shadow stays on the street" which suggests that he is seeing the blood long after it is really gone, the metaphor "shadow" is used to create a ghostly image of the man. Similarly, the photographer uses a metaphor to describe how he sees a "half-formed ghost" in his photograph, which suggests that he is haunted by what he has seen, even when he is back in the safety of England.

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.

Try it ---- OR ----

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