Shooting Stars Carol Ann Duffy Critical Essay

"Shooting Stars" is a poem about a victim of the Holocaust, an unnamed woman who is subjected to the horrors of the Nazi army and the dehumanization of people in the service of the war. The poem contains many emotional phrases, designed to show both the enormous brutality of the Holocaust, and the unimaginable pain felt by the "undesirable" prisoners.

After I no longer speak they break our fingers
to salvage my wedding ring. Rebecca Rachel Ruth
Aaron Emmanuel David...

The narrator is matter-of-fact, explaining the situation in simple terms to show how she must disassociate herself in order to remain sane. This dissociation is in itself almost worse than a melodramatic narration, as it allows the reader's imagination to fill in the blanks between her words. The list of names has no punctuation; this shows how it is endless, continuing long past the time when the narrator "no longer speaks."  The worst thing here is that she may not be dead, simply comatose or in shock, and the soldiers broke her fingers anyway.

After immense suffering someone takes tea on the lawn.
After the terrible moans a boy washes his uniform.
After thehistory lesson children run to their toys the world
turns in its sleep the spades shovel soil Sara Ezra…

This stanza shows how uncaring the soldiers, and their families, were towards the human life of their prisoners. It might be interesting to compare this stanza, which allows the "civilized" Nazis their minor comforts (tea, toys) after engaging in atrocities, to the novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, where the families and even the Nazi soldiers themselves showed more guilt.

Tell them I sang the ancient psalms at dusk
inside the wire and strong men wept.
(Duffy, "Shooting Stars,"

The narrator wishes to be remembered, even after her death, not as a rebellious hero who fought against the Nazis with her body, but as an individual who remained strong and refused to bow in her mind. Her plea is aimed directly at the reader (although she prefaces this stanza "Sisters"), to call upon all of society to never forget. The emotions created by this poem are more up to the reader's personal connection; the narrator lays out one experience, one terrible event, and allows the reader to imagine the many millions of similar events.

Shooting Stars by Carol Ann Duffy Critical Essay

1635 WordsFeb 13th, 20137 Pages

Shooting Stars By Carol Ann Duffy

“Shooting Stars” is a horrific and moving poem written by Carol Ann Duffy. She adopts the persona of a female Jew speaking out from beyond the grave about her terrifying ordeal before she died in the Holocaust. A powerful impression is left on the reader after reading Duffy’s dramatic monologue and visual descriptions of her ordeal and immense suffering. She urges the reader to remember what the Jewish victims were forced to go through, and begs us not to turn our back and forget.
-------------------------------------------------…show more content…

It’s disgusting to think that someone could actually do that to a small, innocent child caught up in the atrocities of war and the Holocaust.


Duffy’s Jewish persona speaks out from beyond the grave on behalf of all the Jewish victims, and reminds us of the extreme horror of their ordeal through her use of imagery and word choice, and urges us to “remember”
Carol Ann Duffy goes on to list six traditional Jewish names;

“Rebecca Rachel Ruth/Aaron Emmanuel David, stars on all our brows”

The list of names isn’t punctuated, which give us the idea of them losing their individuality and reflects upon the six million lives lost during the Holocaust. The fact Duffy names these people gives them back part of their individuality which the soldiers callously took away, and reminds us that these were real people who all sadly met the same fate.

The Jewish woman speaks out further on behalf of the other Jewish victims in the line;

“Mourn for the daughters, upright as statues brave.”

This is her telling us how

Show More


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *