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Haley Hornbeck
Hung Pham
Composition Two
March 17, 2011
All or Nothing
In Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Facing It” and Wislawa Szymborska’s “End and Beginning” the poet’s writing is based around the central subject of war. The central theme of the poems is the emotional impact that the war brings out. Both poems differ in persona, yet set the same tone of sadness through their poetic language and poetic form. Both poems address the after effects of war however “Facing It” is more personal, whereas “End and Beginning” focuses on the experience in a broader omniscient way.

The persona and the tone of a poem gives the reader a better understanding of what is going on throughout the poem and helps lead to the central theme of emotional distractions after the war. These two poems “Facing It” and “End and Beginning” contrast with their differences in persona. Each of these poems is told in a different point of view. In the poem “Facing It”, the speaker is described as a black Vietnam War veteran who is fighting an internal ongoing battle in which he struggles with his race, pain of the war, and the confusion between reality and the battles within. Although the speaker addresses other characters in the poem, it is written entirely in first person narrative, and is very personal. The tone of this poem is sad and somber as the speaker is trying to hold back the emotion he is feeling, while he reads all the soldiers’ names from the wall, “I touch the name of Andrew Johnson;/ I see the booby traps white flash.” (17-18). Unlike “Facing It”, the poem “End and Beginning” is written in an omniscient, all knowing, and narrative. The speaker never directly mentions a certain person and has a third person point of view throughout the entire poem which entails that war affects not only the soldiers fighting but everyone. For example, “Somebody’s got to push/ rubble to the highway shoulder” (5-6). There are a few different tones to this poem which include critical, which is making a...
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