The Colonel Poem Summary

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“One-part brave, three-parts fool.” This is a popular quote from the novel Eragon and it describes the nature of the main character as he is a young, foolish, and overconfident kid. Similarly, Carolyn Forché, an American poet and human rights activist, can be described by this due to assumptions that can be made in her poem “The Colonel”. This poem details her experiences during a trip to El Salvador during the late seventies. More specifically it is about a visit to a high-ranking officer’s home where she experienced fear mongering. An interesting part of this poem is that it resembles an article, because it is written as a prose poem and is very descriptive. This makes it hard to understand who the speaker is and why she is in her setting,…show more content…
She should know that going to such a high-ranking officers home with only a friend would be a bad idea. She knew that the country was dealing with an oppressive cruel government, that is why she was in El Salvador in the first place. So why did she still visit his house? One possibility was mentioned before and is the reason the colonel picked her. She was young and naive. At the time she was only 28, which is quite young to be talking to a brutal military leader of a foreign country. She could have neglected to notice the dangers of going to this mans house. This man has obviously killed many people before what is stopping him from killing her and her friend, especially since she is not a government official. The second possibility is that instead of neglecting the dangers she ignored them. Maybe she wanted to be heroic and knew all about the colonel but wanted to expose him. After all her whole mission was to witness and document human rights violations and she probably felt a pressure to do something big since it would be a big enhancement to her career. This raises another question if this is the scenario then why did she not talk? She just sat at the dinner table quietly even when the colonel questioned her. Even her friend was silent and visually told her, “say nothing.” Maybe the colonel’s tactics worked, and their bravery shriveled as soon as they came to the house. It could have been a mix of bravery and foolishness, but either way it wasn’t a very wise
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