During the sixties, in the poem Homecoming, Bruce Dawe expressed a rather solemn, empty and somehow tranquil view of the impact the Vietnam War had on society. He writes in such a way that those who could not fathom or recognise the devastation it brought may now have the chance to comprehend it.
The entire poem is a single sentence and the overall structure is unusual, with no rhyme, rhythm or pattern. This means the readers can read it as their own thoughts, enabling anyone who underestimated the war and its consequences to now develop some idea of how meaningless the masses of deaths were and how little recognition they were given. With sentences like All day, day after day, they’re bringing them home, and, they’re bringing them in, piled on the hulls of tanks, in trucks, in convoys, the plague like numbered deaths is emphasised greatly.
The reader is slowly let in on more of an image throughout the poem. The first few sentences are barely descriptive, but it goes beyond adjectives only a few rows down. After they have been zipped up in their plastic tombs; they’re tagging them now in Saigon, in the mortuary coolness they’re giving them names, they’re rolling them out of
the deep-freeze lockers – on the tarmac at Tan Son Nhut
the noble jets are whining like hounds,
After the bodies have been labeled, the first truly powerful words are used, 'mortuary coolness', by describing where they keep the bodies. This makes the thought of death even more chilling. This segment also introduces the first use of a simile. Once they are ready, the jets that will take their bodies home whimper sadly for the fallen soldiers.
Alliteration comes into play once they are close to home, home, home – and the coasts swing upward, the old ridiculous curvatures. This explains how eager everyone is for them to come back home, and how abundant in joy the soldiers used to get to thought of it through the repetition of 'home'. The next part talks of how the curves of earth...
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