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English Commentary

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Mohamed Rizk 20-12-2004 English Commentary The following is a commentary on paragraph in P.G 211 --> 212 in the Sorrow of War.. The paragraph from page 211 to 212 has a very important significance to the story as a whole. It has a lot of metaphors and similes that add to the sorrowful mood of the story. In the beginning, the paragraph is very poetic, juxtaposing past images of life to future and present images of death and destruction. In specific it juxtaposes the "eternal" beauty of his girlfriend Phuong to the tragic finality of war. The paragraph is written in the simple past tense, the perfect past tense which means the past before the past and the hypothetical "would" in order to emphasize Kien's deep longings to relive the past. It also shows us how Kien lost his spirit of fighting, and gave up hope. ...read more.


Like Kien, we can feel the painful irony of the impossibility of this miracle to happen. Other images function in the same way to show Kien's despair and loss of hope. He saw "a river stretching before him. He saw himself floating towards his death". Here the narrator compares the river to a path that ends life. However, we usually associate rivers with freedom and ongoing life. The narrator also says "fate waited to take him from the terrible present to the happy days of the past". The narrator is showing us how much he longs to relive the past and how he dreads the present, and views his future as a horrible period of time. In the beginning of the paragraph, the narrator creates a beautiful world untouched by war through many poetic images. ...read more.


This shift reflects a change in his outlook from an impossible hope to deep despair. "Would be a miracle", "would be untainted" and "would be untouched, unchanged". The repetition of the word "would" gives us an image of a hypothetical possibility. In contrast, Kien's dream is an experience he relives at night when he says "spreading before him were the past forty years". It is clear that Kien has changed from dreaming about a beautiful unchanged past to reliving it at night. The narrator clearly shows to us the sorrows of war through the images he creates in our minds. He uses the words "death", "destruction" and "war" while talking about the present and future, and this gives us a bad impression of what is happening and adds to the sorrowful tone to the paragraph. Also using the words "Beauty" and "green meadow" while talking about the past adds to the sorrowful tone of the paragraph, because it shows us how he longs to relive periods of time he cannot relive. ...read more.

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