Facing It

Topics: Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Military veterans' affairs, Veteran Pages: 1 (273 words) Published: March 25, 2008
Yusef Komunyakaa’s poem “Facing It” describes a Vietnam War veteran’s painful experience of visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. In his poem I couldn’t help but be impressed by its vivid imagery. Reading the lines, Komunyakaa makes it so easy to envision what he describes. It makes me feel like I’m there. Through the use of vivid imagery, Yusef Komunyakaa shows the veterans’ response to the Vietnam War memorial by using both literal and figurative illustrations. Literally and figuratively, Komunyakaa begins his poem with the image of the speaker “hiding inside the black granite” (2) of the Vietnam veterans’ memorial wall. This image gives the reader and the veteran the representation that he is almost one with the wall and can see himself emotionally inside it. The reflection causes a literal image of the speaker being “stone” (5), yet figuratively this shows the speakers desire to remain “stone” (5) against the potential effects of memories provoked by the wall. This image can be looked at in both a figurative and literal way yet both are controversial ideas the speaker and those who visit the wall can encounter daily. Throughout the rest of the poem there are continuous references to the speaker’s reflection in the “black granite” (2) of the wall. The speakers flashback of “booby trap’s white flash” (18) and the imaginative “erasing of names” (30) all occur within the reflections of the wall. Consequently, when the speaker sees himself “inside” (10) the wall he is figuratively suggesting that a deeper part of him is trapped with the past that the monument represents.
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