Barbed Wire by Mary Emeny

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Mary Emeny's poem, "Barbed Wire," depicts war as a negative force, destroying every decent aspect of human existence. Written during the Vietnam War, the work displays Emeny's negative views on war. In one way or another everyone experiences and identifies with the presence of war. Although some wars are fought for justifiable reasons, every war tears into the lives of those undeserving. The tragic effects of war consume the innocent creating an unconquerable path of entanglement. The physical effects of war overwhelm the naïve causing pain and suffering. Initially, war entangles the lives of youth, destroying the innocence that they experience as an aspect of their life. The girl "glid[ing] gracefully down the path" (1) and the boy "rid[ing] eagerly down the road" (9) have their enjoyable realities striped by the harshness of war. Likewise, war enters women's lives creating turmoil. The woman who works "deftly in the fields" ( ) no longer is able to experience the offerings of life. The "wire cuts," ( ) pushing her away from the normal flow of life. In addition, man undergoes tragic obstacles as a result of war. "A man walks nobly and alone" ( ) before the horrible effects of war set in on his life causing disruptions. War enters the life of man destroying the bond man shares with his beloved environment ( ). Although a great deal of physical effects exist in Emeny's work, the spiritual consequences of war serve as the most devastating ones. The will and spirit of those amidst the harshness of war diminishes because of the seriousness of war. Prior to the complexities of war, the "spirit flees gleefully to the clouds," ( ) illustrating the freedom one expresses without repression. As soon as the "wire catches," ( ) or the war commences, and intervenes with the lives of innocent bystanders, the innocence is lost. Furthermore, the hearts of the untainted human beings experience demolition due to the irrationality of war. Before the tragedy of war enters the...
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