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The poem ‘Shooting Stars’ by Carol Ann Duffy explores the horrific treatment of

the Jews by the Nazis during WWII. ‘Shooting Stars’ manages to keep and
maintain the readers’ interest due to several techniques. These consist of
unusual word choice, alliteration, metaphors, the use of second person narrative
and repetition.

Unusual word choice is one of the techniques used to maintain the readers’
interest in the poem. The first example of this is at the beginning of the opening
line in ‘after I no longer speak, they break our fingers to salvage my wedding
ring’. This describes one of the Jews as pretending to be dead just so she
doesn’t have to suffer anymore. The Nazis break this Jew’s fingers so that they
can get her wedding ring. The word ‘salvage’ usually suggests someone is
saving something of value to them from a wreckage, and so this makes the Nazis
sound like animals, as they think that the wedding ring is more valuable to them
than this person’s life. This is successful as an opening line as it catches the
readers’ attention and they feel sympathy for the Jews. This then sparks the
readers’ interest and they want to read on.

Alliteration is another technique used by Duffy to maintain the readers’ interest.


An example of this is in the third stanza in ‘stars on all our brows, beneath the
gaze of men with guns’. The soft ‘b’ sound describes the Jews, whereas the
harsh ‘g’ sound describes the Nazis. This is effective as it reflects the actions of
both the Nazis and Jews. This catches the readers’ interest as the Jews are the
gentle victims, and the Nazis are cruel oppressors. The readers’ interest is then
maintained ad they want to see what happens to the Jews next.

Metaphors are also a technique used in the poem. One example of this is in the
second stanza in ‘mourn for the daughters upright as statues, brave’. This refers
to the Jews standing and waiting before they get shot, and by referring to them
as ‘statues’ suggests that they are very dignified during their last few minutes of
life. However it also suggests that they are petrified and can not move as a
result. This is successful as the reader feels sympathy for the Jews and hatred
for the Nazis. Therefore this helps to catch the readers’ interest.

Another technique used in ‘Shooting Stars’ is repetition in ‘Remember,


Remember these appalling days that make the world forever bad’. Duffy wants
us to remember this appalling day and enforces this through the repetition of the
word ‘remember’. The use of a capital ‘R’ are the beginning of ‘Remember’ also
emphasises this. Duffy wants people to stop this from ever happening again.
This is extremely effective as the reader is deeply saddened by the events of the
poem, and the way the poet is desperately trying to prevent this from continuing
in the future. This keeps the reader interested and makes them want to read on.

The use of second person narrative is another technique used in the poem in
‘how would you prepare to die’. This is directly aimed at the reader to involve
them in the poem. The reader feels like they are actually there, and this person
is asking us the question. This is effective as it is asking the reader how they
would prepare themselves to die and thus we can not escape the horror of the
situation. The readers’ interest is successfully maintained as they are being
involved in the poem.
The techniques used in this poem are effective in catching and maintaining the
readers’ interest. The use of the second person narrative in particular achieved
this most dramatically as it helped involve the reader and force them to face the
reality these victims endured.