Comparison of the War Photographer and Ozymandias

June 19, 2021 by Essay Writer

The War Photographer is written in the third person and the author is describing what is going on in the poem. The first line of the poem sets the scene for the poem. The phrase ‘he is finally alone’ refers to how before the war photographer was taking photographs when he was in the war surrounded by soldiers and civilians but now he is alone in his house developing the pictures that he took that day. ‘Spools’ are what thread is traditionally stored on and there is usually a lot of it so this implies that he surrounded by lots of photos of suffering. The ‘ordered rows’ that he has his photos organised in could also refer to rows of soldiers of rows of artillery or maybe a firing squad. Maybe he has also gone crazy from the distressing scenes that he has seen in the war. ‘Light is red’ refers to the only type of light that you can have on a dark room, but it could also mean the blood and how in the war that is all he sees. The priest is an image of surety and importance like the photographer and he sees his role as important and also sees himself as important. The places listed at the end of the stanza could refer to all of the places that he has been to. The phrase ‘All flesh is grass’ is a quote from Isiah in the Old Testament. This continues the religious theme and indicates the brief nature of life, especially during times of war, as described in the poem, when one death is nothing in the bigger picture.

The solutions in the second stanza refer to the chemicals that you have to put the photographs into to let them develop in but could also refer to the solutions that could solve all of the suffering and pain that comes with the ingoing war. The reference to the ‘fields which don’t explode beneath the feet’ is about how in the war torn are there would be mine fields and trying to walk over these fields would be lethal. The reference to the fields that don’t explode under feet mean that the fields are just normal and they are safe to travel over. The explosions come when a scared child is running to or from something or someone and then they trip a mine. This is a dark contrast to England where the fields are just normal fields.

Both poems deal with the theme of power, the power of the newspaper owners who decide if the war photographer gets any money, and Ozymandias, the self-proclaimed ‘King of Kings.’ Ozymandias deals with an ‘antique’ statue of a once great man who ruled over a vast kingdom but now, after his death, he is nothing and neither is any of the work that he did. This shows the harsh but immaterial nature of nature and time, and how it governs over everything else. In Ozymandias the poet describes a ‘traveller from an antique land’ in a way to distance himself from the digs he will be having towards Rameses. The description of the statue is ‘vast’ and this implies the endless size of the statue and the power that Rameses must have had to be able to erect such a statue. The way that he lost all of his power shows that power is not an eternal thing and can be taken away quickly. This is similar to how in War Photographer in the war the same can happen. Both poems are showing how power is nothing but is the basis for the world. Shelley was a revolutionary and so was against power and depicted this great figure being tore down, and in War Photographer the power of the newspaper choses what photos are chosen and how the war is depicted. This is the basis for both poems and is a common and strongly put across theme.

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