Voices of War Essay
James Blunt’s song “No Bravery” and the song “I was only 19” by Red Gum express similar ideas about war and use many of the same techniques to present these ideas. Both strongly use imagery and personification to convey a sense of the horrors of war and the lasting effect that it has both physically and psychologically on those who are involved both as soldiers and also the innocent victims who are damaged by wars that occur around them. Blunt’s poem was written from first hand knowledge as he was a soldier serving in Kosovo trying to hold together a fragile peace in a land that had been horrifically torn apart by civil war and ethnic – cleansing. Blunt could see first hand for himself the terrible damage that war had caused to the land and its people. He uses quite graphic imagery to convey his sense of powerless at being able to assist them and he carefully choses his language to convey the most graphic example. His poems opens with:
There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
Tears drying on their face.
These three lines tell us immediately what he thinks about war. His powerful imagery and careful choice of words in using children as his opening image are emotive. He furthers this image by telling us that their arms are outstretched to the sky as if seeking some form of salvation that they hope will come and take them from the hideous situation they are in. The allusion to the tears drying are emotive but the use of singular in ‘face’ makes it seem as though all the children are crying as one. This use of the collective noun is quite strong and emotive as war is quite indiscriminate and will not make distinctions based on age or gender. Blunt personifies war and repeats the line “He has been here” several times throughout the poem to emphasize the horrific nature of war. HE reminds us that whole families are destroyed in war and will never be seen again “brothers lie … fathers lost…”. Blunt also feels that war...
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