War Photographer’, ‘Valentine’ and ‘Before You Were Mine’ by Carol Anne Duffy

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Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy has written many poems and many of them are linked but in different ways, to substantiate this I am going to refer to three of her poems and compare them with one another.

The poems that I have chosen are ‘War Photographer’, ‘Valentine’ and ‘Before You Were Mine’.

My first impression of ‘War Photographer’ was that it was really sad, lonely and cold this is because it is about people dying during a war and a photographer taking photographs of it, and seeming oblivious to anything else but getting a good picture for his employer, the press. Initially I did not sympathise with the war photographer because he did not seem to have any emotion whilst taking the photos, but as I read on I realised how the photographer really did become affected by the job he had to do.

As an example, the phrase

        ‘beneath his hands which did not tremble then, though seem to now’,

showed how he felt slight guilt and emotion.

Carol Ann Duffy is very clever with the words she uses and how they are used, she uses alliteration a couple of times in her poems to emphasise a number of things, for example

        ‘with spools of suffering set out in ordered rows’,

the alliteration in this sentence emphasises the number of rows.

The first line of the poem reads,

        ‘In his darkroom he is finally alone’

Carol has chosen the word ‘finally’ in that sentence simply showing that the war photographer has been waiting to be alone and a sense of relief is given when it is read.

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        Carol uses the same words in some of her poems but they can have different meanings such as on the third line of the first stanza in War Photographer is said,

        ‘The only light is red and softly glows’

The meaning of red in this sentence comes across as danger, war, blood or an alert but in ‘Valentine’ the first line says,

        ‘Not a red rose or a satin heart’

The meaning of red in this sentence comes across as totally different for it seems to mean, flowers- rose, love and happiness, and in ‘Before You Were Mine’ on the ...

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