Comparing and Contrasting Duffy Poems for National 5 Scottish

Report
Comparing and Contrasting Duffy Poems for National 5
Scottish Texts Question

Originally

War Photographer
Comparing and Contrasting Duffy Poems for
National 5 Scottish Texts Question
Subject: Duffy describes a
personal experience:
leaving her home in the
Gorbals, a poor area of
Glasgow, and moving with
her family to live in
England where, gradually,
she became part of a new
community, losing her
Scottish accent and some
other aspects of the
Scottish culture she
possessed originally.
Subject: Duffy describes a
war photographer
developing spools of film
back home in the safety of
rural England. The
photographs are harrowing
but only a few will be
chosen for a Sunday
magazine but will elicit
only minimal emotional
reaction from readers who
are busy relaxing.
Meantime the war
photographer flies out to
another war zone.
Comparing and Contrasting Duffy Poems for
National 5 Scottish Texts Question
Points of Comparison



Adults looking back and reflecting: the war photographer
on recent experiences abroad while taking pictures in a war
zone; poet herself on childhood experience of moving south
and becoming assimilated into new community.
Cities: “Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh.” War zones around
the world - in Europe, Middle East, Far East respectively.
Glasgow not mentioned by name but “skelf”, Scottish
dialect word, indicates poet’s Scottish origins.
Concept of home: Home for the war photographer is “Rural
England.” Home is safe: “simple weather” rather than
“nightmare heat” of where he has been working, plus
“fields” here “don’t explode beneath the feet / of running
children”. Home for Duffy is in “own country”, Scotland
rather than England, a place much missed on leaving: “My
brothers cried, one of them bawling Home, / Home”;
somewhere that is “the right place” but lost to her along
with its “river, culture, speech”.
Comparing and Contrasting Duffy Poems for
National 5 Scottish Texts Question
Points of Comparison


Strangers: To the war photographer, people who are
subjects for his photographs, suffering terribly and dying
but not known to him personally: “a stranger’s features”
and “running children”, not identified as individuals. To
Duffy they are unidentified “big boys” and “the rest” of the
pupils “in the classroom” in her English school when she is
living “where no one you know stays”.
Forgetting: The readers of the “Sunday’s supplement”
which will publish some of the photographs will hardly
remember them by the time they are having “pre-lunch
beers” because they “do not care” about events far away
which don’t directly affect them and only make their
“eyeballs prick / with tears” rather than weep outright.
After describing how difficult it is to leave home and move
to somewhere totally unfamiliar, Duffy says “But then you
forget” about the place one originally comes from or
“change” to fit in to the new environment.
Comparing and Contrasting Duffy Poems for
National 5 Scottish Texts Question


Points of Comparison
Travel / Journey: The war photographer travels by
“aeroplane” to trouble spots across globe: “Belfast” in
Northern Ireland, “Beirut” in Lebanon and “Phnom Penh” in
Cambodia where he sees “blood stained into foreign dust”.
His stay abroad is temporary. Duffy travels only from
Scotland to England but sees it as a journey “from our own
country” into a foreign land. Duffy’s move is permanent.
She also describes process of growing up as “an
emigration”, a moving to unfamiliar territory.
Children: In war zones innocent children are in mortal
danger where “fields” concealing presumably landmines or
bombs “explode beneath the feet / of running children”. In
Originally children are upset at moving - her “brothers
cried, one of them bawling” – but are safe with parents who
feel “anxiety” and care for them while they adjust to their
new home.
Comparing and Contrasting Duffy Poems for
National 5 Scottish Texts Question

Identity: The photographer is identified only by job title; his
subjects are nameless “running children”, a dead man
whose “stranger’s features” are seen as film develops and
“this man’s wife”. The anonymous readership of the Sunday
magazine is identified simply by the definite article: “The
reader’s eyeballs prick / with tears”. Loss or change of
identity is a major theme in Originally. Identity is linked
with place: “our own country”; “the city, / the street, the
house”; “the river”; plus the “culture, speech” associated
with that particular place. Moving to new place initially
entails desire to hang on to original identity: “I want our
own country, I said”. Eventually, assimilation in new
environment inevitably involves loss of old identity,
including loss of accent and dialect: “my tongue / shedding
its skin like a snake”.
Comparing and Contrasting Duffy Poems for
National 5 Scottish Texts Question
NB!
These notes simply point out comparative ideas – don’t forget to
study your own more detailed notes or annotated copies of the
poems to revise techniques used to convey the ideas, such as:
 stanza or line structure
 punctuation
 word choice
 alliteration
 assonance
 simile
 metaphor
 juxtaposition
 oxymoron
 onomatopoeia
 dialect
 connotation
 personification
 etc

similar documents