The Reflections of War
In the poem, “Facing It,” Komunyakaa uses his personal experience while visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial after surviving the Vietnam War and the mental affect of the reality that death has left. In the poem the author uses imagery to illustrate to the reader the feelings he experiences while dealing with the loss of his fellow comrades. “I go down the 58,022 names, half-expecting to find my own in letters like smoke.”(14-16) While at the memorial he is reminded of the ones he lost in the war, as well as that of the trials endured by people of all races even in a time where there was still a racial divide. The author uses imagery to develop the theme of the consequences and the affects that linger long after the war is over regardless of race.
The theme of the poem is illustrated throughout but is identifiable in the middle with the words used to create imagery, “I touch the name Andrew Johnson; I see the booby traps white flash.”(17-18) The author also uses imagery to show that the conflict had affected whites and blacks alike and had in some ways joined them as simply brothers in arms. “A white vet’s image floats closer to me, then his pale eyes look through mine. I am a window.” (25-27) The author uses these lines to show the reader that white or black they can both look back and reflect on the hells of war and relate to one another.
As the poem closes out the author adds something else for the reader to think about. “In the black mirror a woman's trying to erase names: No, she's brushing a boy's hair” (29-31). The author uses these lines to illustrate how the war affected many people including parents, wives, sisters, brothers and children for today and generations to come in the future.
Komunyakaa, Yusef “Facing it”: Kennedy, X.J. and Gioia, Dana “ An Introduction to Fiction,
Poetry, Drama, and Writing 3rd Edition” Backpack Literature....
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