Shooting Stars - Carol Ann Duffy

1147 words 5 pages
Shooting Stars

The poem 'Shooting Stars' by Carol Ann Duffy tells a shocking story of a female prisoner held by Nazis in a concentration camp around the time of the Holocaust. The poem is set in 1940, Hitler and his Nazi party had taken control of most of Europe and had vowed to exterminate the entire Jewish race.
Duffy's haunting use of imagery and word choice make this poem so memorable and its very strong opening prepares the reader for the rest of the poem.
The title choice, 'Shooting Stars' is a very effective and ambiguous title. The first meaning is that the word 'Stars' represent the Jewish symbol, The Star of David. Jewish people were forced to wear them on their clothes to mark them out as targets of abuse and torment for
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The poem is continued with a disturbing and difficult question, "How would you prepare to die, on a perfect April evening?" This contrasts the perfect calm of the Western European summers evening with the highly opposite atrocities taking place within. The poem continues to say "...With young men gossiping and smoking by the graves." Gossiping is usually a social and pleasent activity, but to do it next to the graves of the Jewish people deameans them even more.
The end of the stanza describes how the Nazis played a cruel joke on one of the prisoners, they tricked the Jews into thinking they were going to kill them by holding a gun to their head and fired an empty barrel. This stanza on a whole emphasizes the cruelty and inhumane way the Nazis treated the Jews.
In the first three lines of stanza 5, Duffy begins each sentence with 'After' to make the reader understand the length this suffering lasted. Duffy uses antithesis to contrast between the intense pain the Jews experienced and the casual attitude of the Nazis, "After immense suffering, someone takes tea on the lawn." The same technique is used on the second line, "After terrible moans, a boy washes his uniform." The boy naively thinks he can wash the guilt from his conscience, which has a 'Lady MacBeth' style idea. The next line reads, "After the history lesson, children