Poetry or song lyrics often work as social commentary, working to shake us out of the lethargy we may feel, or in other words the lack of designated effort put towards changing or influencing a particular social issue. Khe Sahn by Cold Chisel is a demonstration of how a protest song helped change the way Australian's thought and acted about the Vietnam War and to sympathize for the soldiers who encountered many hardships along the way. It uses various poetic and narrative techniques to convey and drive meaning to the reader such as structure and rhythm, persona, social criticisms and references, imagery, symbolism and many other literary forms.
One of the more noticeable techniques used to evoke feelings and thoughts from the reader are the structure and rhythm that the song evolves. This is clearly visible in the first verse, alike the others, the first line rhymes with the second and the third with the fourth. For example the repletion of the whole end consonant sounds like Sahn and man', turkey and city'. The fifth line of the verse links the song to the next verse. A clear structure and rhythm establishes a clear, strong sound to enforce the meaning of the lyrics being sung.
The persona is also very powerful in conveying meaning as using a different point of view can change the meaning derived for example the viewpoint of antagonist is far from that of a protagonists alike from a narrators, changing the way the reader feels about the social issue. In Khe Sahn the persona is first person narrating the life of a delusional Vietnam War veteran who struggles to fit back into society. This can be derived from the opening line starting with I' stating the narrator as himself.
Social Criticisms are also made to position the audience to feel sympathy and regret for what Vietnam Veterans went through and how they were treated upon return. For example females in the 70's are positioned as lesser minded and lived to settle down as a...