Reality Of War - Bruce Dawe - Essay

1129 words - 5 pages

If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. (OBrien). Over time, and through decades of continual foreign intervention, wars have drastically altered our national character and converted the spirit and moral temperament of our society. Good Morning Vietnam, an American comedy-drama war film (1987) illustrates the tragedy of the Vietnam war proving that not only were their disagreements but it was rather inescapable, given the complication of the conflict, the faith of soldiers in each other became and how it got destroyed in the process. Poetry evokes a focused imaginative awareness of experience or specific emotional response through using specific language, sound, and rhythm. All Through Australian poet, Bruce Dawes free verse poem Homecoming, the anti-war poem recognises the futility of war and its devastations upon young innocent human individuals.

Dawes poem Homecoming (1968) is a free verse that depicts the aspects of war, mainly focusing on the Vietnam War and the mourning and death associated with the deceased Australian veterans involved. It is an anti-war poem that echoes the poetry of the first World War, elaborating on the tragedies that occurred. The term Homecoming is normally applied to refer to a place of rest, safeness, identity, and belonging. However, Dawe uses homecoming to create irony, deep loss, and the question why? The opening lines create a monotone, soldiers being meaninglessly picked up from the battlefield, All day, day after day, they're bringing them home, they're picking them up, those they can find, and bringing them home, indicating that not all have been found. Anaphora is shown in the poem by the use of the word they're a third person plural, giving an accumulation and lack of humanity. The significance of this repetition is to symbolise that war itself is repetitive.

The line 'curly-heads, kinky-hairs, crew cuts and balding non-coms' removes the remaining individuality of the soldiers, their race, personality, and even including their status in the army which now no longer matters. The recurring references to the soldiers, as them, further accent the lack of character and identity, presenting and amplifying the ongoing negative perception throughout the poem. In their sterile housing, they tilt towards these like skiers, taxing in, on the long runways, the howl of their homecoming rises the use of the word sterile gives an idea of impotence, showing that there is futility attached to the idea of war, making us as the audience question, what is really the point of the war?

The soldiers are seen to receive respect from only the dogs 'raise muzzles in mute salute' as they are greeted by them silently and respectfully when they should have been barking. This image traditionally portrays ...

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