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Homecoming Analysis. Homecoming by Bruce Dawe illustrates and recounts the tragedies of the Vietnam War in an even-tempered, but negative tone.

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Introduction

Homecoming by Bruce Dawe illustrates and recounts the tragedies of the Vietnam War in an even-tempered, but negative tone. The poem is based around the literal returning of passed soldiers in the sense that they were not appreciated. Dawe utilises a variety of imagery and literary features to further emphasis the deeper significance while attempting to convey the message that war is unavailing and effectively a waste of human life. The poem makes use of enjambment throughout, more so in the second half where the majority of the imagery is presented as well as the first mention of a feeling 'sorrowful'. There is no specific structure maintained across the whole of the text, which allows for a more particular writing style unique to the poet. Due to the relatively cynical tone the poem reads at a steady pace averting the possibility of heedlessly skipping through. The foremost section of the poem introduces the seemingly routine task of transporting dead bodies as if it were trivial. ...read more.

Middle

The soldiers are seen to receive respect from only their dogs 'raise muzzles in mute salute' as they are greeted by them silently and respectfully when they should have been barking. This image is traditionally portrays the animal as a man's best friend. Despite having made the ultimate sacrifice of going to war, the fact the most attention they are presented with is from a dog accentuates the global concept of war as dehumanising. The simile 'whining like hounds' highlights the disastrous effects of war while simultaneously suggesting dogs are capable of human emotion. This relates back to the image of them showing respect for the soldiers. The line 'curly-heads, kinky-hairs, crew cuts and balding non-coms' removes the remaining individuality of the soldiers, suggesting race, personality and even status in the army no longer matters. The recurring references to them, as them, further accents the lack of character present and amplifies the ongoing negative perception throughout the poem. Dawe uses the metaphor 'the steaming chow mein' to describe and imitate various aspects of the Vietnamese jungle. ...read more.

Conclusion

This meaning is however used ironically by subtly contrasting the traditional implications of the word, with the shocking reality of dead soldiers flown home from Vietnam. The final line shows an oxymoron 'now, too late, too early' whose meanings are abundant. It is 'too late' due to the fact that the soldiers' lives can no longer be saved and 'too soon' implying they passed away at an early age, leading an unfulfilling life. They are quite unlucky having never received the recognition they deserved at the end of the war. By using a great deal of poetic techniques, imagery and his own unique touch, Bruce Dawe has depicted the aspects of the journey soldiers of the Vietnam War have endured and its devastations upon society. The poem as a whole suggests the reality that journeys are not always pleasant regardless of what it seems and effectively, comprised of a blissful ending. Bruce Dawe has indicated a heavy message and a bleak meaning relating to society's weaknesses and downfalls. The fundamental of disrespect is established through the gloomy tone enabling the reader to experience such feelings. ...read more.

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

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