An Analysis Of Yusef Komunyaka's Poem 'Facing It'

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The Dark side of War What is it felt like to be a veteran who has suffered from the trauma of war that leaves multiple scars? As a Vietnam War veteran, Yusef Komunyaka in his short poem “Facing It” narrates his experience along with his emotional struggle as he visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Phil Klay, who is also a veteran served in Iraq, in his short story “Redeployment”, attempted to show how it feels like in a war zone and what happened to the soldiers who returned. These stories gives a peek into one of the most difficult phases a person can face in a life time. The sequencing of the collection reflects the disorder of a soldier’s life. Some remain long after the fact, tracing the lives damaged or lost in the months after coming …show more content…

For Yusef, the memorial is more than a stone, but something he identifies with on a deeper level. It is this deeper meaning that inspires his emotional response: "I said I wouldn't/dammit: No tears. /I'm stone. I'm flesh” (line 3-5). This memorial, for Yusef, does not arouse in him new emotions but old existing ones; ones which he fights to contain with no success, although he came to the memorial with the knowledge that he would find it a highly emotional experience (Facing It). On the other hand Sgt. Price struggles to internalize his emotions, telling himself not to think of how his friend died at the war and other horrors, rather he wants to think of his wife which later made him guilty, he realize that he is a living human being who shares the darkness and horror of the war …show more content…

In Redeployment, back home, Sgt. Price can't let go of his war experiences or the tense battle-readiness that his memories provoke. Entering a crowded shopping mall strikes him helplessly to what he calls alert-level orange: "Here's what orange is. You don't see or hear like you used to. Your brain chemistry changes. You take in every piece of the environment, everything" (127-128). He found it difficult to "get back down to white”. He notices there are people walking around who have live their whole lives and die at white, people who have never experience orange state (Redeployment). Whereas, when we see Yusef the names upon the memorial represent experiences that Yusef carries within himself and that impact him in ways that have changed him forever. This is why it seems that Yusef finds it hard to realize that other people should not visibly carry the impact of the war with them also, wherever they go. Yusef writes: "Names shimmer on a woman's blouse/but when she walks away/the names stay on the wall"(lines 19-21). Yusef seems to find it hard to understand that a woman can approach the memorial and then walk away and take nothing with her, leaving it all exactly as it was before. It appears no effect upon the other, the names briefly shimmers upon the woman's blouse and then both the woman's blouse and the memorial remain separate and intact (Facing

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