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Compare "War Photograph" by Kate Daniels and "War Photographer" by Carol Ann Duffy.

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Comparative Poetry Essay Katrina Walker Poetry is often used to convey a strong message about humanity. With close reference to the language of two modern war poems, compare and contrast the anti-war messages each poet is trying to portray by describing pictures of conflict across the world and decide which of the two has the most impact on the reader. "War Photograph" by Kate Daniels and "War Photographer" by Carol Ann Duffy are war poems that both convey similar strong messages about humanity. These poems show our lack of understanding and compassion for the pain and the horrendous conditions which adults and particularly children, living in countries at war, experience. They both evoke momentary sympathy through shocking images of extreme pain and helplessness. "War Photograph" is a great deal more effective as the writer carefully focuses on the image of a distraught child. The poet provides an emotional and very detailed response to the picture of the young child. This disturbs the reader for a moment and the poet realises our detachment from the situation and in disgust acknowledges the absence of concern we feel for those in countries in conflict as we continue with our own daily routines. The second poem, "War Photograph" has a less successful impact on the reader. The writer has not expressed any opinions nor has put any emotion into the poem, as she is only writing about the photographer's reactions concerning the photographs he is working on. ...read more.


The wealthy individuals in the world are perceived as the "Gods" in this stanza. God is understood to be calm and supportive in actuality but in this stanza the idea of the Gods as individuals in first world countries that are wealthy is in fact ironic because it is those with great prosperity that are so destructive and aggravate wars in other countries. This is an opposite image of what they believe to be true- they are not running to us but from us. The idea of the sky being turned to fire, "changed the sky to fire", creates a clear image of how intense the colour of the sky was changed to. The sky is usually blue and it is unusual for it to be such a fiery orange and red colour. This forms a link between blood and fire and is also strongly associated with the concept of danger. The writer is disgusted that human beings can be so selfish and inhumane towards others not as well off this is somewhat conveyed in these lines. These thoughts have a great impact on the reader as it encourages the reader to think about the lack of humanity in the world today. The quote, "All flesh is grass", is a religious metaphor taken from the bible, explaining that the natural way of life comes back eventually. Throughout stanza one religious imagery is used, "Priest", "Church", "Mass". ...read more.


Being human is not supposed to be a terrible thing, "terribly" suggests negativity and somewhat horror. This coupled with "human" suggests an opposite idea because being human is not something terrible. The writer is trying to show us we are lacking humanity and cannot understand how we can be human if we do not care for one another. This last section of the poem has great impact on the reader, forcing the reader to contemplate on the situation and realise that the attitude that humans possess at the moment need to change to end the suffering of other human beings, that can be observed from so far away. In conclusion I believe "War Photograph" has a great deal more impact than "War Photographer" The poem is structured well with simple short sharp sentences that are extremely effective and also longer detailed descriptions. Both these poems convey strong anti-war messages that concentrate on our society's lack of humanity towards images of war, most often caused by our own hands. Kate Daniels communicates this message in a much more obvious and frank manner in "War Photograph" than Carol Ann Duffy manages to in her poem "War Photographer". "War Photograph" contains a great deal more emotion and is more focussed directly on the images of distress whereas "War Photographer" is looking at the reaction of the photographer to the same events, through his own eyes and this is what makes it have less impact on the reader. "War Photograph" by Kate Daniels is undoubtedly the most effective and has had the most impact on myself out of the two poems. ...read more.

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