This example paragraph is from a student essay, written in it was marked by two different teachers as a full mark essay: 30/30 for the AQA Power and Conflict Poetry exam question for English Literature GCSE. 

Example A* / L9 Grade Paragraph

To commence, in War Photographer, Carol Ann Duffy presents the ways that people are affected by war through the objectification of soldiers in war and how they become so insignificant so quickly, where Exposure presents the effects of war on people through the personification of nature and its overbearing power over the soldiers. The quotation “spools of suffering set out in ordered rows”, presents the soldiers in war as objects, as disposable artillery. The adjective “ordered” shows that the War Photographer is taking away the soldiers’ identities in order to be able to cope with the inescapable experiences he will always remember. This shows that war is so abhorrent, so disgusting, that it winds its way into the minds of the people who witness it. Further, the infinitive verb to “order” shows desperation to arrange the thoughts in his head – to put order to the disorder of war. This contrast shows conflict within the mind of the war photographer and shows that he doesn’t just impact other soldiers – it impacts the witnesses too. This is contrasted by “Exposure’s use of personification of nature to remove the soldiers” human power. The quotation “pale flakes come fingering with stealth for our faces”, presents the predatory intentions of nature during the war. The “stealth” has predatory connotations – likening snowflakes, which would normally be seen as delicate and beautiful to vicious, intelligent animals. This juxtaposition highlights the soldiers’ confusion – as war is said to be patriotic and the most dangerous things are bullets – where in reality, it is nature that poses the biggest threat to humans in war. This leads to the phrase “for love of God is dying”, which suggests that he is losing his religion as a result of the holiness of weather. He feels so alone, so betrayed by his expectations that war has caused him to question his god – presenting nature as an omnipotent predator that, in turn, removes expectations.

“War Photographer” by Carol Ann Duffy – Poem Analysis


We’ve made full lessons on each of these poems, including L9 / A* Grade example answers, practise essay questions and context points – so if you need extra help then be sure to check out our AQA Power and Conflict Poetry course and other English Language and Literature courses.