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How Is Suffering Presented In The Poem ‘War Photographer’?

954 words - 4 pages

War photographer is a particularly powerful poem which conveys a sense of suffering as it sympathises with both the photographer and the person in need. Suffering is the main theme of the poem and it depicts an anonymous character going through the struggle between two completely different worlds, documenting the lives of those who are suffering but for completely different reasons. The poem does not just depict the two contrasting worlds but the two contrasting meanings of suffering. Is suffering through your own visually impacted hardship or the suffering of those in desperate need of our help.
The speaker is an omniscient speaker, which acts as an observer. The tone of the speaker is definitely impassive. We can empathise more with an observation piece as if the poem were to be written in first person then it may seem as if they are asking for our sympathy. There seems to be a culture in modern day generations to react less to people talking about their own hardships rather than observations made on a particular person. Although the speaker has more knowledge then the reader does as he/she has access to the photographer’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. ‘He remembers the cries’, ‘a strangers features faintly start to twist before his eyes’ are examples of where the speaker has more knowledge then we can observe. These extra details of more raw emotion help to convey suffering in the poem.
The setting is a key part when presenting suffering. The poem is set in a ‘darkroom’; the concept of being in a dark place (both metaphorically and theoretically) is associated with emotions such as suffering and depression. The dark room can not only signify his place in mind but also the darkroom could reflect his deepest and darkest thoughts. It is also mentioned that this is the location he is ‘finally alone’. This could signify the place where he is not surrounded by others to cause him suffering or of those suffering in the literal sense or a place where is finally alone with his thoughts and emotions. In the room ‘the only light is red’, red is generally associated with hell and you can picture and intensely stressful atmosphere with a harsh red light. Although it ‘softly glows’, this is a big contrast as it suggests a gentle and calming atmosphere. This contrast may suggest disharmony in his life which definitely does not help to settle his suffering.
There is an underlying religious aspect to the poem which is brought to our attention on line 5 when the word ‘priest’ and ‘Mass’ are mentioned on the same line. Priests are usually associated with trying to clear you of your sins and forgive you for what wrong you have done. The bible states that ‘the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us’. The only glory presented is...

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