‘War Photographer’ and ‘Stealing’ are both poems written by Carol Ann Duffy and both involve the theme of outsiders. ‘War Photographer’ is about a photographer who is assigned to take photos in war camps. The photographer goes through several emotions during the poem including sympathy for the war victims and anger towards his boss. Stealing is a very unusual poem. It is about a thief who is socially outcasted. The thief in the poem is describing the most unusual item stole by himself or herself, which is a snowman. The thief shows his feelings throughout the poem; they are mostly of guilt and pleasure.
The stanzas in the poem ‘War Photographer’ are very regular. It is divided into 4 separate stanzas all of which are of equal length. Similarly, the stanzas in ‘Stealing’ are very traditional. It is split into 5 separate stanzas, again, all of the equal lengths. This may symbolize the simple-minded character involved in this poem. The language in ‘War Photographer’ helps make war seem very dramatic and show the photographer’s feelings to the readers. The words, suffering and nightmare describe how negative and devastating war can be, and how heartbreaking it can be to families involved. The phrase, ‘ A hundred agonies in black and white from which the editor will pick out 5 or 6.’ This shows that the photographers hate their boss.
The numbers 5 or 6 out of 100 show the insignificance of these deaths, and the lack of respect that the editor shows. In the poem ‘Stealing’, language is used to portray the thief’s feelings towards his stealing, the outcast’s feelings towards society and the lack of education that the thief has. The poem begins with the use of alliteration, the words mute, magnificence, moon midnight and mate show the readers anger and his power. The loneliness and isolation that the thief feels are seen when s/he goes to the extremes of staling a snowman for company. The outcast is seen to be very cruel when he says, “the thrill was knowing the children would cry.” The thief is talking as though he believes that no one else should if he doesn’t receive love and affection. The thief shows his anger towards society and towards the innocent snowman when he kicks it, ‘Again, Again.’ The colloquial wording such as ‘pinch’ shows the character’s simplicity and lack of education.
The poet feels envious of the outcast in the poem ‘Stealing’ as they have someone to love and care for, which the thief doesn’t. The thief is craving love and attention and is pleading with the audience. The poet tries to make you feel sorry for the thief and feel grateful for having someone. Again in the poem ‘War Photographer’ the poet is trying to make the audience feel empathetic towards the photographer and realize the devastating scenarios he has to take photos of. War isn’t seen to be real to the readers of the magazine but the photographer sees the real heartache upfront and the pain and anguish on the faces of the soldiers. Both poems are very similar. They both involve the theme of outcasts. The outcasts each have their own personal views on society and their behaviour reflects this. The thief satisfies his needs by stealing goods and preventing other people from enjoying them just as the thief never experienced love and happiness in the past. The photographer shows his anger not by actions but by strong emotive words.