The poem “Facing it” by Yusef Komunyakaa is a deep poem that shows the aftereffects of war in modern society. The article called: “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders Among Vietnam Veterans”, by Robinowitz and Walter Penk shows the cultural context we need to understand about soldiers after the Vietnam War. By analyzing the article and the poem together we will discover the full cultural context and meaning behind the poem. The message of the poem is that PTSD is a serious issue that has been ignored for far too long, and now is the time to consider those who fought for us. The first connection I would like to make between the poem and the article is how unconsciously the citizens around soldiers showed a complete lack of concern. The …show more content…
Soldiers typically lacked sympathy for what they went through from society ignoring the trauma they brought back from the Vietnam War. The following quote from the article presents the thought process of most soldiers to us: “By forgetting, he said he could prove that he was strong and could master his anxieties… by remembering, he felt he was admitting that he was weak and no longer in control” (Penk and Robinowitz 3). The previous quote shows how the soldiers felt that forgetting made them appear strong rather than letting their emotions weaken them, and this is why we see a soldier’s inner conflict as they force themselves to remember in the poem. In this quote from the poem the soldier has come to the monument for remembering those who passed in the war and as he looks at those names his first thought is: “No tears. I’m stone. I’m flesh” (Komunyakaa 3-4). My interpretation of this is that he was battling his feelings as soon as he entered the memorial. He was fighting to as the journal article said about the other Veteran “master his anxieties” (Penk and Robinowitz 3). These two lines are connected because the soldiers are both dealing with the trauma by holding in and hiding their emotions. However, they have both also come to the reality that forgetting is not effective in helping their trauma (Komunyakaa …show more content…
A quote from the article states: “We must challenge the taboo topic of the aftermath of war, which we have avoided for so long” (Penk and Robinwitz 3). The previous quote shows that the society soldiers came back to after war was one that disregarded them as people with feelings. Society made it seem as though their trauma did not matter and the author points out that it is time to pay attention of be aware. A quote from the poem presents this same idea: “I go down the 58,022 names, half-expecting to find my own in letters like smoke” (Komunyakaa 12-14). My interpretation of this line is that he almost died and that is why he has so much trauma. Not only did his life likely flash across his eyes the life of his friends did as well (Komunyakaa 12-14). These two lines are connected because his flashbacks and emotions are a consequence of the war as is stated by Penk on page 3 (Penk and Robinowitz 3). It is a simple reminder that the consequences still exist even though we as civilians had previously chosen to ignore
He sees it as a photograph of deep pains and memories as also felt on the next lines of the poem: "I said I wouldn't/dammit: No tears./I'm stone. I'm flesh. " The past and present struggles are real with the words. The author thinks that VVM does not brought him new emotions, instead it is like pulling him back to the fights and scraps. From 1969 to 1970, Komunyakaa served in Vietnam as a correspondent and managing editor for the military newspaper Southern Cross, work that earned him a Bronze Star (Ekiss, 2015).
“Facing It”, written by Yusef Komunyakaa, tells a story of the long list of names on the granite Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. The speaker is able to show a great deal of emotion which was able to bring forth emotions in me. After reading this poem I was filled with feelings of gratefulness, sadness, and pride. My grandfather is a veteran of the Vietnam War and I remember when I was a young child making visits to my grandparents house seeing my grandfather in uniform posted in frames on the walls. I remember seeing an American flag folded and laying peacefully in a glass box.
Because he uses such explicit details, it signifies this particular experience was horrendous for a young soldier like himself to witness. This appalling experience definitely left a harsh impression on his memory of the Vietnam war, causing him to remember his time in the war in a horrific fashion. The narrator also explains, "His face was suddenly brown and shining. A handsome kid, really. Sharp gray eyes, lean and narrow-waisted, and when he died it was almost beautiful, the way the sunlight came around him and lifted him up and sucked him high into a tree full of moss and vines and white blossoms" (67).
He had a daughter he loved so deeply . Every time he would come back from One of his tours it was very hard for him . He loved his family and seeing them for the first time in a long time but he always needed time off from people and society so he would have a hard time communicating with his family . He wive states that when he would come home for three weeks , he’d spend one week inside his room isolated from Everyone and everything. It hit him hard that he had to do the things at war in Order to keep his loved ones safe.
In which, this shows how the speaker is one of millions of people who either fought or lost their lives in the war. Therefore, this reveals . Another example, the speaker describes, “A white vet’s image floats closer to me, then his pale eyes look through mine. I’m a window” (Komunyakaa 1093). Furthermore, throughout the poem Komunyakaa uses vivid imagery in order to paint the picture of what life was like for some Vietnam veterans during that time.
The lack of empathy and grief shows their numbing of emotions, which is further proven when the quote mentions “without resentment”. This suggests that the soldiers have been desensitized to the death and despair around them, so much so that they do not even feel any anger or resentment towards their enemy, who killed their comrade. This motif is also present in the novel All Quiet On The Western Front. As the soldiers are on their
His voice floated away for a second. He looked at Sanders and tried to smile.” (211). He is tormented by the images of his dying friend. These never relinquishing images contribute to his inability to cope and he finds himself lost, losing the person he once was before the war, losing his sanity.
Oliwia Parafinska Ms. Haughey English Composition 102 28 April, 2023 Essay 3 Dealing with heavy emotions after traumatic life experiences is a tough feat, especially in situations that army soldiers go through. When taking a deeper look into the situation, it is clear that repression of emotions occurs more often than not. Pushing aside feelings seems like an easy, temporary escape, however, this repression has tremendous consequences on the psyche. In “The Things They Carried”, Tim O’Brien establishes the difficulty that soldiers in the Vietnam War have in terms of dealing with their emotional baggage which comprises grief along with fear.
They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice.... Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to.” PG 21. This conveys that soldiers who struggled with post traumatic stress disorder faces emotional baggage which stays with them even after leaving the war.
War has a profound and lasting impact on individuals and society. In “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, he tells different stories of before, during and after war and how it affects the soldiers, mentally and physically. In these stories Tim O’Brien illustrates these traumas and the long-lasting effects and impact that the war will always have on these men. Even though all the men didn’t survive the ones that did continue to have traumatic flashbacks. War has a lasting impact on individuals and society, affecting not only the physical but the mental and emotional well-being of those involved.
Ysef Komunyakaa, a former soldier turned poet, suffered many defeats in the war and spoke of the Mental Toll he faced in the war “My Black face fades, hiding inside the black granite. I said I wouldn’t, dammit: No tears. I’m stone. I’m flesh… I turn that way- I’m inside the Vietnam Veterans Memorial…
The True Weight of War “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien, brings to light the psychological impact of what soldiers go through during times of war. We learn that the effects of traumatic events weigh heavier on the minds of men than all of the provisions and equipment they shouldered. Wartime truly tests the human body and and mind, to the point where some men return home completely destroyed. Some soldiers have been driven to the point of mentally altering reality in order to survive day to day. An indefinite number of men became numb to the deaths of their comrades, and yet secretly desired to die and bring a conclusion to their misery.
The theme of “Facing It” is that Veterans who has served in any wars are still carrying sad emotions and memories with them and those memories will stick in their head until they die. In this poem, the black veteran man look at the granite wall that has over 58 thousand names on it and all of the sad memory come back to him like it just happens now. Survive during the war is what all soldiers want, but losing their battle buddy is a big loss to them. Many Veterans have gone through a depression after they’ve survived during the war. All the memories of