A Different Shot
My chosen text is “In Creve Coeur, Missouri” by Rosanna Warren.
Only in Creve Coeur
would an expert photographer
firebug snap a shot so
eloquent: fireman bent low
over the rag of body held
like impossible laundry pulled
too soon from the line, too pale,
too sodden with smoke to flail
in his huge, dark, crumpled embrace.
He leans to the tiny face.
her hair stands out like flame.
She is naked, she has no name.
No longer a baby, almost
a child, not yet a ghost,
she presses a doll-like fist
to his professional chest.
Her head falls back to his hand.
Tell us that she will stand
again, quarrel and misbehave.
He is trying to make her breathe
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A woman’s daughter dies in a fire. Naturally she is stricken with grief and pain from the loss of a family member, but not just any family member, her child. She has every right to be angry, but she didn’t look at what happened from the photographers view. Warren’s original version uses strong descriptive words to paint a picture of the dedicated work of a firefighter, and the “heartless” work of a photographer. She paints a solemn picture of a fire fighter escaping a burning building with a “rag of body held like impossible laundry”. This illustrates how the speaker feels about the selflessness and sincerity of the firefighters, and the selfishness of the photographer.
One point of view that can be taken is that the photographer didn’t stop to think about the mother and the family who lost a daughter. The speaker is upset that the photographer used the picture from the fire. The photographer stood by while the firemen tried to save this little girl. Even though he knew the girl didn’t survive the accident, he still used the photo in a contest. There was no way for the photographer to know that his picture would win a prize and receive such fame. He was just doing what he loves. Another point of view that can be taken is that the photographer was simply capturing a moment. He was showing how hard these firemen work to save lives. Even though he wasn’t trying to save the girl as the firemen were, he wasn’t purposefully being selfish and using this tragedy for his own gain. Maybe he was just doing what he loves. It is wrong to hate someone for doing what they love. Both views are present in the original version. You just have to search for the latter.
The original poem shows the strength of a photograph and how different its effects can be. In his case, it shows how...