Facing It By Yusef Komunyakaa

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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

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