The Blue Machinery of Summer – Yusef Komunyakaa
The central conflict is that he does not feel the same since he has come back from Vietnam. I would say there are two instances that he best describes this problem. "I still hadn't told her I felt I'd left part of myself in her country." (88) Another moment was at the very end when he imagines the faces of the dead from Vietnam on his way to L.A. I think that the whole story builds up suspense by the way he dances around the problem and never talks to Lily about Vietnam. He also mentions that since he had been back he and his friends had not even acknowledged that he had been there. I think that this is very significant in identifying that what he had to deal with in Vietnam has scared him. I would almost identify Komunyakaa with the machine as he talks about working. I get the sense that he is just trying to make it day to day and that his experiences in Vietnam are holding him back from really living. I think that eventually Komunyakaa decides to move forward by going to school because the alternative seems to be him living out his days in the drooling factory.
At the very end of the story he states "The Bus pulled out, headed for L.A. with its headlights sweeping like slow yellow flares across drunken faces, as if images of the dead had followed Lily and me from a distant land only the heart could bridge." (95) In this moment Komunyakaa adds expense yet closes his story. For this particular story I felt that in a way he was taking a step by continuing his education but that he had a long way to go when it comes to dealing with his time in Vietnam. Vietnam obviously needs to be addressed and we see that he is taking a step but there is added anticipation by knowing that he has a bigger much more serious problem to address. I like how he closes his story by adding more suspense. I become more engaged and enthralled by a story when writers do this. I like that it ends but that it also addresses that there...
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