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War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy is a poem which explores the theme of moral ambiguity.

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Introduction

Poetry Essay ? War Photographer Task: Choose a poem which explores an issue important to today?s society. Explain what the issue is and go on to show how the poet has conveyed this issue ?War Photographer? by Carol Ann Duffy is a poem which explores the theme of moral ambiguity in the field of war photography which is important in today's society. The poet has conveyed this issue through the eyes and thoughts of a war photographer and highlights the controversy surrounding this profession. In the first stanza the reader is first introduced to the theme of moral ambiguity through the photographer?s job being portrayed as a noble profession. The photographer has just returned from an assignment and he is developing his most recent photos: ?In his dark room he is finally alone? The face that he is ?finally alone? suggests that he has been in very busy surroundings till now. Only after returning home has he been given the chance to process the scenes of violence and horror he has seen abroad. The phrase suggests that even when he is not on duty his mind is still thinking about his work and this emphasises the stress he is under relating to his job. At the start of the poem, Duffy conveys that there is no moral issue in taking pictures of suffering. ...read more.

Middle

This monosyllabic sentence emphasises the photographer?s debate as to whether his job is justifiable. The word ?has? shows that he feels that it is just like any other job and on the other hand he knows that he is not just doing it for money and that he must show the public the horrendous event that are happening in these war-ridden countries. This is notable as it conveys the daily debate that war-photographers face. The poet shows the debate that the photographers face daily. Duffy shows how the photographer is only affected by the tragic events he has seen after he returns home: ?Beneath his hands which did not tremble then? When he is working he is constantly busy and distracted and it is only when he returns home that he realise how disturbing the scenes of war are. This gives us insight into his work and shows us how occupying it can be. This is relevant as it shows that even thought he sees such scenes of pain and suffering regularly he is still strongly affected by them. This is significant as it reminds us how traumatic these events can be. In the third stanza the photographs are developing and we get an insight into the events depicted in the photos: ?A strangers features faintly start to twist before his eyes? The word ?strangers? shows the anonymity of the people depicted in the photographs. ...read more.

Conclusion

This idea is further highlighted when the poet shows the newspaper readers reaction to the article: ?Prick with tears between bath and pre-lunch beers? There is a contrast between the limited and shallow emotion of the readers and the cries and agony of the man?s wife. This shows that these photographs are actually very intrusive as they interfere in a very personal and emotional scene for the man?s wife whereas for the readers it is just an article in a newspaper. The phrase ?between bath and pre-lunch beers? also emphasises that the people are just reading this article to pass time and have no real feeling or genuine sympathy towards these people. The people reading the paper simply gain a voyeuristic pleasure from seeing these articles and images; this reinforces the superficial thoughts of the public. In my view Duffy is on the photographers? side in the poem. While many people would think it inhumane to take pictures of suffering and death whilst not attempting to help the subjects, she portrays him as a man with feeling who has forced himself to do his job ?impassively?. It is almost as it she accuses the general public of being inhumane in this poem. The message of peace among violence comes across strongly in this poem which in turn is what makes it so captivating and important in today's society. Words: 1369 ...read more.

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