Shooting Stars

Shooting Stars

By Carol Ann Duffy

After I no longer speak they break our fingers
to salvage my wedding ring. Rebecca Rachel Ruth
Aaron Emmanuel David, stars on all our brows
beneath the gaze of men with guns. Mourn for the daughters,

upright as statues, brave. You would not look at me.
You waited for the bullet. Fell. I say, Remember.
Remember these appalling days which make the world
Forever bad. One saw I was alive. Loosened

his belt. My bowels opened in a ragged gape of fear.
Between the gap of corpses I could see a child.
The soldiers laughed. Only a matter of days separate
this from acts of torture now. They shot her in the eye.

How would you prepare to die, on a perfect April evening
with young men gossiping and smoking by the graves?
My bare feet felt the earth and urine trickled
Down my legs until I heard the click. Not yet. A trick.

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

Sister, if seas part us, do you not consider me?
Tell them I sang the ancient psalms at dusk
inside the wire and strong men wept. Turn thee
unto me with mercy, for I am desolate and lost.

Summary of Shooting Stars

  • Popularity of “Shooting Stars”: Written by Carol Ann Duffy, “Shooting Stars” is a poem that first appeared in 1995 as part of her collection titled, The Other Country. The poem quickly gained popularity due to its powerful and emotional portrayal of the Holocaust. It describes the experiences of female prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp and the atrocities they faced, including rape and torture. Despite its dark subject matter, the poem has resonated with readers and has since become one of Duffy’s most well-known works. Its publication and subsequent popularity have helped to raise awareness about the Holocaust and its impact on women in particular.
  • “Shooting Stars” As a Representative of the Holocaust: “Shooting Stars” is a powerful representation of the atrocities and horrors of the Holocaust. Through the portrayal of female prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp, the poem sheds light on the inhumane treatment and suffering they endured. It highlights the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust and the profound impact it had on the victims. The poem also serves as a stark reminder of the atrocities committed during World War II and emphasizes the importance of never forgetting the lessons of the past.
  • Major Themes in “Shooting Stars”: “Shooting Stars” by Carol Ann Duffy explores various themes such as the brutality of war, the power of memory, and the importance of bearing witness to history. The poem depicts the horrific experiences of women in a Nazi concentration camp, emphasizing the cruelty and inhumanity of war. Duffy’s use of vivid imagery and sensory details bring the poem to life, highlighting the physical and emotional trauma the prisoners went through in the camps. It also underscores the importance of remembering and bearing witness to the events of the past as a means of honoring the victims and preventing similar atrocities from occurring in the future.
    For instance, the repeated refrain of “Remember” in the second stanza of the poem serves as a poignant reminder of the need never to forget the lessons of the Holocaust. In short, “Shooting Stars” serves as a powerful testament to the resilience and courage of those who survived the horrors of the Holocaust and a call to action for future generations to work toward creating a more just and peaceful world.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in Shooting Stars

Carol Ann Duffy employed various literary devices to enhance the intended impact of the poem. This analysis focuses on some of the major literary devices used.

  1. Alliteration: It is the repetition of initial consonant sounds in words that are close together. For example, in line “Remember these appalling days which make the world / Forever bad.” (Line 7) The repetition of the /m/ sound and /p/ sound creates a sense of emphasis and reinforces the negativity of the situation.
  2. Assonance: It is the repetition of vowel sounds in words that are close together. “My bare feet felt the earth and urine trickled” (Line 15) shows the repetition of the /i/ sound in “feet,” “trickled,” and “click” creating a sense of discomfort and unease.
  3. Consonance: It is the repetition of consonant sounds in words that are close together. Example of “You waited for the bullet. Fell. I say, [-Remember” (Line 6) shows repetition of the “l” and “t” sounds creating a sense of finality.
  4. Imagery: It is the use of vivid and descriptive language to create mental pictures or sensory experiences. For example lines “My bare feet felt the earth and urine trickled / Down my legs until I heard the click” (Lines 15-16) show the imagery creating a vivid picture of the speaker’s physical and emotional state.
  5. Metaphor: A comparison between two unlike things without using “like” or “as.” For example, “stars on all our brows” (Line 3) show the comparison of people’s brows to stars creating a sense of importance.
  6. Personification: It is the attribution of human characteristics or qualities to non-human things. For example, “the world / turns in its sleep” (Line 20) shows the personification of the world creating a sense of movement and change.
  7. Symbolism: It is the use of symbols or objects to represent ideas or qualities. For example, the wedding ring in line 2 may symbolize the speaker’s love or commitment to someone else.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Shooting Stars

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction: It is the choice of words used by the poet in a literary work. In this poem, Carol Ann Duffy utilizes a somber and mournful tone by using carefully selected words, such as “mourn,” “appalling,” “desolate,” and “lost,” to express the anguish and pain caused by the atrocities of war.
  2. End Rhyme: It is the repetition of sounds at the end of the lines in a poem. The end rhymes in this poem follow an irregular pattern, contributing to the overall disquieting effect of the poem.
  3. Rhyme Scheme: The pattern of end rhymes in a poem, typically represented by assigning a different letter of the alphabet to each rhyme. The rhyme scheme in this poem is irregular, with a variety of end rhymes used throughout.
  4. Stanza: A stanza is a group of lines in a poem that form a unit, similar to a paragraph in prose. This poem is divided into four stanzas, each consisting of four lines.
  5. Tone: It is the attitude or emotion conveyed by the poet through the language and structure of the poem. The tone of this poem is somber, mournful, and reflective as the poet meditates on the brutality and inhumanity of war.

Quotes to be Used

This quote is a powerful statement about the persistence of memory and the importance of remembering. By repeating the phrase “I remember again and again,” the speaker emphasizes the ongoing nature of the act of remembering. This quote can be used to inspire people to keep the memory of past events alive and to honor the victims by continuing to acknowledge their suffering.

I remember again and again
(Line 1)