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War Poetry- Bruce Dawe's Homecoming and Weapons Training

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Introduction

Poetry invites us to explore interesting ideas. Bruce Dawe effectively does this through his use of language in war poetry. Bruce Dawe?s Homecoming, predominantly focuses on the dehumanization of the soldiers at war as it is an antiwar protest poem. It talks about the process and meaning, of grieving and treatment of the soldiers in Vietnam. The words ?mortuary coolness? accurately describes the mood or emotion felt in this poem, as it is rather passive for an antiwar poem. Homecoming has an elergy structure and is based on a eulogy written at funerals. It is slow moving through the use of commas and lack of physical action. ...read more.

Middle

This continues the idea of mortuary coolness and the horrors of war. In comparison, Bruce Dawe?s Weapons Training is an aggressive style of poem that yet again allows us to explore interesting ideas like the reality and hardship of war. In Weapons Training, Dawe shows the reality of war, alive one minute, dead the next. This is told through the use of the sergeant training his recruits about the war. The use of starting the poem with the conjunction ?and? gives the impression that the audience has just tuned into listening to what the sergeant has to say. Dawe?s use of language is extremely strong in conveying the interesting ideas in this poem. ...read more.

Conclusion

The way the poem is written, is like that of a machine gun, its firing out the harsh reality of war. Dehumanization in war is further demonstrated through the use of labels, cliché’s and idioms such as “if you had one more brain”, “unsightly fat, elephant ears” and “copped the bloody lot”. The hardship and brutality of war is shown through the use of continuous imagery as Dawe tells the audience how quick death occurs in war. The repetition and grammar used for “dead. Dead. Dead.” Shows that death is always around the corner and strikes fast. Dawe uses imagery by constantly referring to the gut in terms of war. This shows that the lack of heart exists. Both Homecoming and Weapons Training are anti-war poems, however they use different structures and language techniques to explore the interesting ideas that come from the reality of war. ...read more.

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