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Facing it paper assignment1 - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date “Facing It”: Point of View. Yusef Komunyakaa’s poem, “Facing It,” is from his collection, Dien Cai Dau, written in 1988, which deals with the Vietnam War. Yusef served in the United States army from 1968–1971, serving one tour of duty in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War (1969–1970)…
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Facing it paper assignment1
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Download file to see previous pages The scene of the poem is the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington D.C., which lists the names of the American Army personnel who died in the war. The poem deals with the images of this experience. The poem is autobiographical, being based on his stint in Vietnam. Written in the first person point-of-view, the narrator of “Facing It” is Yusef. This point of view gives the poem a very intimate tone. The reader is absorbed into the mind of the poet and sees the Memorial through his eyes. The poet’s point-of-view narrative in “Facing It” expresses his confrontation of his own emotions, shows his empathy for others and explores his search for closure. As Yusef faces the Memorial, he confronts his own emotions and experiences during the Vietnam War. The Memorial is a wall of black, polished stone. The high polish results in the images of viewers being reflected off the names of the dead soldiers which are inscribed on the wall. In effect, Yusef treats the polished granite wall as a looking glass reflecting the images of war. By adopting this perspective, Yusef sees himself in the wall. He asserts his African-American identity in the very beginning of the poem: “My black face fades/hiding inside the black granite” (Yusef, 1 / 2). ...
However, to the poet’s frustration, this device of melding with the stone does not guard him against pain of his powerful emotions. However much he tries to hide within the wall, and insulate himself from pain by exerting a rock-like self-control, Yusef has to finally acknowledge that he is a living man, with all the sensitivity of living flesh: “I’m flesh” Yusef accepts (Yusef, ---5). It is obvious that the poet is moved to tears by the recollection of his war experiences. As he views the wall through tear-filled eyes, it is his “clouded reflection” (Yusef, ---6--) which stares back at him. Yusef pays his personal homage to the dead by going “down the 58,022 names” (Yusef, ---14) inscribed on the wall. Andrew Johson is obviously someone he knew in the war. The poet relives the horror of the soldier’s death in “the booby trap’s white flash” (Yusef, --- 18). Yusef’s mention of “half-expecting to find my own in letters like smoke” conveys to the reader his puzzlement at the arbitrary nature of war. He is alive while 58,022 men died. There is a hint of guilt in this image. This sentiment also makes Yusef particularly sensitive to the pain of those who lost loved ones in the war. Yusef empathizes with the other visitors to the Memorial. He sees “Names shimmer on a woman’s blouse” (Yusef, 19). Like Yusef, this woman is also there to pay homage to the dead. It is likely that there is a name on that wall which belongs to a loved one with whom she identified in life. But now, “when she walks away, the names stay on the wall” (Yusef, --- 20 / 21). The dead are irrevocably gone and the woman has to leave her love behind in the dead wall. The separation is final. A white veteran approaches Yusef. The man’s ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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