English Literature - Poetry (Power and Conflict) - 6 poems

War Photographer

"spools of suffering set out in ordered rows" - metaphor and sibilance used to reflect anger that people don't pay attention to his photos. Paradox = chaos reduced to order. "Set out in ordered rows" also reflects the poem's structure - 4 6-line stanzas. Could refer to soldiers in war graves.

"as if this were a Church and he a priest" - simile and religious language to reflect seriousness of job and how dedicated the photographer is to his job. The use of religious language also makes out soldiers to be saints, showing how much respect the photographer has for them.

"Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh" - alliterative plosives could reflect brutality of war, sound of gunshots, or hyperventilation of soldiers. Contrasts with "Rural England" since "Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh" are war zones - juxtaposition. Caesura used - could reflect outbursts of anger.

"Sunday's supplement" - sibilance reflects anger of the photographer that his photos aren't even in the main newspaper.

"Something is happening" - volta (turning point of poem), declarative, and short sentence.

"tears"/"beers" - assonance and internal rhyme to show how quickly people forget.

Structure: Enjambment reflects continuous memories of war, but this is ironic because the poem is about people quickly forgetting. Enjambment could also reflect continuous anger.

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"little fishing boats strung out like bunting on a green-blue translucent sea" - "little fishing boats" gives a sense of scale; insignificant compared to the war the pilot is in. The simile "strung out like bunting" is ironic because "bunting" is associated with celebrations, but there is no victorious return for the pilot - he is shunned when he returns. It is also ironic because he focues on nature instead of his mission as a kamikaze pilot; Nature is more powerful. "Green-blue translucent sea" Assonance is used in "green" and "sea" to create rhythm and reflect the slow motion of the waves to reflect beauty of Nature. Contrasts with the inner conflict of the pilot. 
"shoals of fishes...flashing silver", "shore, salt-sodden" sibilance reflects the movement of fish and water moving calmly,  contrasting with the pilot's inner conflict. "Silver" could represent the explosion of the planes. "Shore, salt-sodden, awash" uses an asyndetic list to emphasise the calm motion of the waves and slow the pace down to focus on the beauty of nature. 
"a tuna, the dark prince, muscular, dangerous." - alliterative plosives to exaggerate the power of the tuna or brutality of war. The full stop used at the end could represent the fact that the mission has been aborted - the pilot abandons his mission; Nature is more powerful. Asyndetic list to build a sense of chaos. The tuna is described as a "dark prince", which could be an allegory; the tuna represents the people in power forcing kamikaze pilots to do their mission.
Negative lexis ("turbulent", "dark prince") juxtaposes with positive lexis to reflect inner conflict. A semantic field of precious materials "pearl-grey" and "silver" shows the beauty and value of nature. 
Structure - written in third person because daughter wants to distance herself from the shame of her father. Enjambment could reflect the movement of the plane or the overthinking of the pilot. The poem has a tight structure, which could represent the military. This tight structure contrasts with the enjambment and free verse.

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"On another occasion" This makes the poem sound like another story. It starts off casual but the war has a massive impact on the soldier - ironic.

"probably armed, possibly not" - alliterative plosives reflect gunfire. Multisyllabic words "probably" and "possibly" to slow pace down and focus on feelings of uncertainty. It is later repeated in the poem - the soldier will never forget about the looter. 

"End of story, except not really" - volta (turning point), shows that the soldier will never forget, and has a sarcastic tone - fits in with colloquial language used in poem.

"rips through his life I see broad daylight" - the verb "rips" could refer to paper - life is delicate and is disposed of easily like paper. The grotesque description contrasts with the colloquial language used in the poem "legs it up", "looter". "I see broad daylight" is a hyperbole.

"His bloody life in my bloody hands" - repetition of bloody emphasises effects of war and bloody fits in with the colloquial language used throughout the poem. Possessive pronoun "my" exaggerates guilt.

Structure - no regular rhyme - like a story. Enjambment used to show guilt will never stop. Starts with "We", then "I", then "my" - reflects how his guilt has gotten stronger over time. 

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The Emigree

"There was once a country..." - sounds like an opening to a fairytale, reflecting childish memories. It is generic (could refer to any country) - builds a sense of mystery and lets the reader imagine. The ellipsis "..." could reflect the overwhelming memories of her country and slows down the pace. Might be no rhythm in poem because free expression is "banned by the state"
"bright, filled paperweight" - "bright" fits in with the semantic field of light used throughout the poem eg "sunlight-clear", "sunlight" to emphasise the positive memories. "Paper" is repeated throughout the poem - it has connotations with purity. Epistrophe - light is repeated at the end of each stanza. "It tastes of sunlight" - synaesthesia reflects confusion. The semantic field of light could also represent the fact that the truth is "coming to light" - she realises it's not a utopia
"branded" - has negative connotations in meaning and contrasts with regular structure of poem and positive semantic field of light. A "brand" is permanent; she will not change her mind. Caesura in the poem suggest confinement in past.
"docile as paper" - simile and hypallage. "Docile" means submissive, which refers to the time when men expected their wives to be submissive. This fits in with the romantic/feminine language used in the poem.  Maybe at this point, the speaker is changing her mind since "paper" is easy to rip.
The city is described as a ballerina - "graceful slopes", "takes me dancing" - fitting in with childish memories and feminine language ("hollow doll"). 
"mutter death", "my shadow" - negative lexis juxtaposes with positive lexis in poem. Placement of negative lexis mainly at the end of the poem shows that the speaker has matured from her younger self, realising the city is not the utopia she knew. Therefore enjambment used in the poem reflects the continual mental growth of the speaker, until the end, where she has fully matured. Three stanzas - infant, child, adult. Enjambment also reflects excitement to retell memories.

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Bayonet Charge

"hot khaki, his sweat heavy" - alliterative "h" reflects hyperventilation of soldier or torturous. "Hot" and "heavy" show that the soldier struggles physically as well as mentally.
"dazzled with rifle fire" - "dazzled" is ironic because "dazzled" is associated with sparkles, not evident in a warzone. "Dazzled" being associated with light could also represent that the truth is "coming to light" to the soldier in the second stanza - the stream of consciousness. "Dazzled" also contrasts with brutality and darkness of war, reflecting inner conflict of the soldier.
"Patriotic tear...sweating like molten iron" - "Molten iron" is a hyperbole to make it seem really powerful and emphasise physical and mental suffering. Also a simile, describes the tear as "sweating" - describes something that doesn't happen to show how the soldier is distracted from his duty. "Sweating" is also a present participle, reflecting action, but in the second stanza the pace is slowed down. "Sweating" also reflects the hyperventilation of the soldier, mentioned earlier in the poem with the alliterative "h" in "hot khaki, his sweat heavy".
"In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations" - alliterative fricatives show harshness and brutality of war. Could represent gunfire and ticking of clock - also in "terror's touchy dynamite". An allegory - "nations" represents the people in power. Complex ideas like fate and "threshing" and the chaotic structure confuse the reader.
"Threw up a yellow hare that rolled like a flame" - simile and part of a semantic field of nature - "green hedge" (which is repeated in poem; juxtaposes with brutal war), "threshing" (specific farming terminology), and "field of clods".Blue and yellow make green - the "blue crackling air" and "yellow hare" both make the "green hedge" - represents the effects of war on nature. "His terror's touchy dynamite" - plosive alliteration and could represent ticking of clock.
Structure - enjambment for moement, caesura reflects mental confinement, different line length for each stanza - confusion

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"spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockade" Poppies described as paper red to show how "delicate" the mother is emotionally. Consonance of "p" is used to create a harsh rhythm. "Spasms" reflects the shaking of the mother when her son leaves. "Blockade" - perhaps the mother is not allowed to see her son.
"sellotape bandaged around my hand" "sellotape" fits in with the domestic semantic field. "Bandaged" fits in with the imagery of pain - "spasms" - the mother is emotionally wounded. 
"steeled the softening of my face" Sibilance to show sadness and perhaps contrast of son's heart (steel) compared to mother's (softening). "graze my nose...when you were little." Mother remembers the memories, and enjambment reflects memory. Caesura reflects the transition from past to present, how quickly her son grew up.
"gelled blackthorns of your hair" alludes to Jesus' crown of thorns - sacrifice the son must make. "Blackthorns" is a thorny shrub producing fruit (her child), shows the harsh physical appearance of her son. "flattened, rolled, turned into felt" semantic field of domestic items and asyndetic list (how quick her son grew up). "the world overflowing like a treasure chestsimile - what life has to offer, or how precious her son is. When referring to the son, the present tense is used, but when referring to the mother, the past tense is used - stuck in memories.
"dove" represents the departure of the son. Connotations of white are purity, fits in with holy imagery "blackthorns". "tucks, darts, pleats" asyndetic list and domestic imagery showing mother's role in sewing. Plosives used to reflect panic of mother.
Structure: non-linear (childhood memories mixed in with present), no regular rhythm (a story), enjambment (absorbed in thoughts), caesura (mother trying to control emotions). War imagery and semantic field ("reinforcements", "Blockade") contrasts with domestic semantic field. Grief impacts upon itself like layers of "felt". Domestic semantic field could also show that the mother is currently sewing to try to distract herself from the grief of her son's departure.

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