English Essay


English essay (500 words per poem) , Total 1000 words
TASK : TO Explore the theme of death and loss within the below 2 poems

POEM 1:War Photographer- Carol Ann Duffy
POEM 2: Education For Leisure- Carol Ann Duffy

Analyze effects on reader and link these two poems to any of these poems:
On My First Son- Ben Jonson
Remember- Christina Rossetti
Mother In a Refugee Camp- Chinua Achebe

Analyze language, structure, literary devices, context, meaning and etc.

Include brief quotations from poem when stating a point.



Education for Leisure by Carol Ann Duffy”

The poem “Education for Leisure” by Carol Ann Duffy expresses the attitude of a person who thinks that he is too genius to get educated. It has been written about a teenage boy who left school and is unemployed. That person wants to do anything just to grab attention and is of the view that he is a very smart individual and he can do anything as he is already talented and there is no room for improvement. He thinks that he is too good for education that he takes it for leisure. The person is ready to kill anything which shows how mentally disturbed he is. The successive events in the poem tell the story that he wants attention because he is ignored by people. So, he decides to start hurting people so they could notice him this way. (Sheerpoetry.co.uk, 2016)

The tone in the poem is angry. It starts with “Today I am going to kill something” which describes the psychotic behavior of the person. The language of the poem is colloquial and the poetess has used slangs at some points. On the opposite side, the line “I squash a fly against the window with my thumb” reminds the boy of a Shakespeare book that he read in school. So it’s contradictory that he has used words like ‘boredom’ and he mentioned Shakespeare as well because these are the opposites. Moreover, there is no formal rhyme scheme in the poem. (Sheerpoetry.co.uk, 2016)

The boy who has been discussed in the poem is on the verge of becoming a criminal as he wants to kill people. The line “I breathe out talent on the glass to write my name” shows how badly he tries to convince himself that he is talented and genius but in the end, he starts planning a murder so that he could feel good about himself.  The line “I touch your arm” implies his final move of murdering someone as he goes out with his knife. (Emilyspoetryblog.com, 2016)

The poem can be linked with “A mother in a Refugee Camp” by Chinua Achebe. The main theme of that poem is that death is inevitable and losing a loved one is extremely traumatic for people. The poem paints a picture of a helpless mother holding her dying son in a refugee camp for the last time. It depicts the pain of a mother at the loss of her child.

These two poems are quite relatable as these involve the feelings of loss. In “Education for leisure”, the boy wants people to be dead and is quite lost. He wants to kill everybody as he himself is a lunatic. The other poem shows the love of a mother for her child. She wants to do anything to save her dying child but he is going far away in front of her eyes. That’s how different people view death and loss differently. All things aside, death and loss is something that is unavoidable. Everyone has to face it one day or the other. This poem is easy to understand for the readers as there are no metaphors or difficult language.


Sheerpoetry.co.uk. (2016). Education for Leisure | Sheer Poetry. [online] Available at: http://www.sheerpoetry.co.uk/gcse/carol-ann-duffy/gcse-anthology-poems/education-for-leisure [Accessed 26 Nov. 2016].

Emilyspoetryblog.com. (2016). ‘Education for Leisure’ by Carol Ann Duffy | A poem for every day. [online] Available at: http://emilyspoetryblog.com/2013/10/16/education-for-leisure-by-carol-ann-duffy/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2016].



“War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy”

The poem “War Photographer’’ by Carol Ann Duffy depicts the horrific destruction and bloodshed that occurs during the war. It shows the conflicts and agony in the mind of a person who has witnessed the sufferings of the people during the war. The main character of the poem is the person whose job is to take war photographs for newspapers. As he sits alone in his room while seeing the pictures he took getting developed, he feels the pain of those people and the lack of interest of mankind towards this because for them, those are mere photographs they see while casually turning the pages of the newspaper.

The poem has been written in a comprehensive and well-structured language and is written in present tense to make the occasions more real. The poetess has used photographic terms like dark room, spools etc. as well. She pointed out in the first stanza that the photographer is sitting alone in a dark room. She writes: “In his dark room he is finally alone” which portrays that the horrible war events have cluttered his mind with dark flashbacks of the war that he witnessed. She further uses the line, “The only light is red and softly glows’’ which means that she is referring towards the bloodshed as red represents blood as well. In short, Duffy has clearly expressed her emotions and thoughts through her moderate language and suitable choice of words. (Bbc.co.uk, 2016)

“War Photographer” illustrates the pangs of death and loss. The poem is mainly based on the agony of loss. For instance, the line: “and how the blood stained into foreign dust” implies that the blood stains of the soldiers who died in the war can never be removed and they died in a foreign land away from their loved ones. The word ‘dust’ puts further emphasis on the idea here. It shows how the memories of good people stay the same even after losing them but the rest of the world does not care about it and don’t empathize with those who suffer which is the bitter reality of life. (Rehman, 2016)

The “War Photograph” could be linked with “Remember” by Christina Rossetti as the main idea behind both of the poems is being remembered after death and loss. In “Remember’’, the poetess desires to be remembered by her loved ones and at the same time, she does not want them to remember her and get sad. Instead, she tells them to forget her and smile that would make her even happier. (Interesting Literature, 2016)

In a nutshell, the poem reminds us that what the commoners see is just a small fraction of the world sufferings. They might just get to see them in photographs and no one really cares about it. The ones who get a closer look into the dark side know exactly how it looks like. It further predicates how uncertain life is and death is inevitable.  Furthermore, the author has used simple yet broad language for the readers to get the whole idea and get a better understanding of the horrors demonstrated by the poet.


Bbc.co.uk. (2016). BBC Bitesize – Higher English – War photographer – Revision 3. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/guides/zx3bb9q/revision/3 [Accessed 26 Nov. 2016].

Rehman, H. (2016). Analysis: War Photographer (Carol Ann Duffy). [online] litxpert. Available at: https://litxpert.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/analysis-war-photographer-carol-ann-duffy/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2016].

Interesting Literature. (2016). A Short Analysis of Christina Rossetti’s ‘Remember’. [online] Available at: https://interestingliterature.com/2016/01/25/a-short-analysis-of-christina-rossettis-remember/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2016].