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Homecoming by Bruce Dawe.

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HOMECOMING Bruce Dawe Bruce Dawe writes of his experiences in the Vietnam War in the poem "Homecoming". By using many different language techniques he conveys his sadness and sympathy for the loss of the lives of the young soldiers. Repeated use of the pronoun "they're", hints at the impersonal relationship between the bodies and their handlers. Repetition of the suffix "-ing" in "bringing", "zipping", "picking", "tagging", and "giving", describing the actions of the body processors, establishes irony. These verbs imply life and vitality, in stark contrast to the limp, lifeless, cold body that they handle each day. Repetition is used effectively to highlight the shocking brutality that has manifested in all wars throughout history. It is shocking that "they're giving them names" since a name is one of the few identifying features left on the plethora of otherwise anonymous, mutilated bodies. Dawe then writes of how the soldiers are 'tagged' and the seemingly unsympathetic way that the soldiers are classified - 'curly-heads, kinky-hairs, crew-cuts, balding non-coms'. This, however, is not to show the classifying of the soldiers as cold and unsympathetic, but rather to emphasize that the class, race etc. ...read more.


"Heading south, heading east" also portrays the many stop-overs made by the planes as they deliver the bad news, and corpses, to the families. The repetition of the word "home", plus the final word in italics, forces the responder slow down in their reading of the poem & more greatly emphasizes the sadness of the soldiers coming home for the last time. Dawe feels that no matter where war is situated it is 'ridiculous'. It is only a struggle for power, a struggle to gain certain 'curvatures' of the earth. This is portrayed in the offset phrase "Ridiculous curvatures". Dawe uses vivid visual imagery to emphasise the emotional damage caused to friends a family through the loss of a loved one, a deep suffering that is often left unrecorded in the annals of history. "Telegrams tremble like leaves from a wintering tree" and "the spider swings in his bitter geometry", exemplify the arbitrary grief that affects those who receive notices. Personification of the telegrams shows them as "trembling" under the burden of the news they must deliver, ending any hope for families wishing their loved ones shall return alive. ...read more.


The final line of the poem creates the idea of Paradox, further endorsing the notion of senseless life loss, a universal theme. "They're bringing them home now, too late" because the chance to save their lives has now past. However, it is also "too early" since all these soldiers are too young, leaving behind an unfulfilled life. Unfortunately these soldiers will also never receive the true recognition they deserve for their efforts that would have been given at the end of the war. By using the technique of paradox, Dawe makes a final attempt at clarifying international misconception of war as beneficial. In all, Dawe has successfully established the uselessness of war. He can be said to be "speaking for those who have no means of speaking" in the way he presents the attitudes of the silent, dead soldiers being flown home from Vietnam. With the aid of poetic techniques he arouses sympathy, carefully manipulating the audience to reflect upon his own views towards war - humanity does not learn its lesson. - Year 11 Advanced English - - Cassie Smith - Ms Russell - ...read more.

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