Khe Sahn, Leaving Home, Geography Lesson; Journey Theme

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Each person’s life undertakes a journey, whether it is physically or mentally. We all undergo our own adversities, tears, pains, and obstacles which can change yours and the society’s perspectives of life. Journey’s can be classified as a distance, course, travelled or appropriate for travelling. The poems “Leaving Home” by Peter Skrzynecki and “Geography Lesson” by Brian Patten both include different techniques such as metaphors and imagery to emphasise the different processes, changes, choices and conflict that each person or character may face throughout a journey. Techniques are also used in the song “Khe Sahn” composed by Donald Walker, providing a glance of how soldiers were treated in the war and the challenges they had to overcome, which all relate back to journeys. ‘Leaving home’ is not just about the destination, but the process in which he goes through to get there, and what he learns along the way is what truly counts. The character’s interview with head office caught him by surprise when the “first country appointment” left him and his family with a “dull-witted, frog-mouthed obedience”. This metaphor shows how unaware the family was about what could happen and that this was the beginning of his process through a journey. He learns along the way that he holds an unknown future and emotionally, this journey is taking its toll on him. The process within the journey helps determine the up-coming events, whether it is broken into steps or left in somebody else’s hand to determine through the ride. In comparison to ‘Leaving Home’, ‘Khe Sahn’ explores the quick change, that the main character experiences in the context, leaving the process to change his life rapidly. The hostile reception took a toll on the character and when returning from war it was extremely overwhelming. “I’ve had the Vietnam cold turkey” is Walker showing the process that the character or inspiration of the text has experienced and that he had to abruptly withdraw from the war he...
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