Essay Analysis of Bruce Dawe's Anti-War Poem, Homecoming

Essay Analysis of Bruce Dawe's Anti-War Poem, Homecoming

Length: 1412 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

An anti-war poem inspired by the events of the Vietnam War, Homecoming inspires us to think about the victims of the war: not only the soldiers who suffered but also the mortuary workers tagging the bodies and the families of those who died in the fighting. The author, Australian poet Bruce Dawe, wrote the poem in response to a news article describing how, at Californian Oaklands Air /Base, at one end of the airport families were farewelling their sons as they left for Vietnam and at the other end the bodies of dead soldiers were being brought home. Additionally, he wrote in response to a photograph, publishes in Newsweek, of American tanks (termed ‘Grants’ in the poem) piled with the bodies of the dead soldiers as they returned to the city following a battle.

Set in both Vietnam and Australia, this powerful poem focuses on the ‘homecoming’ of the dead Australian soldiers, the homecoming motif reflective of the ritual of the same name – the packing, the journey and the reaching of the final destination. Written from a third person point of view, it is clear that the speaker, while an outsider, is emotionally affected by the events and regretful at the deaths. Dawe employs third person and ‘production line’ language of the first section (‘they’re’, ‘them’, etc. – impersonal pronouns) to communicate the detachment of the workers as they process the bodies. When the scene moves from the Saigon mortuary to the Tan Son Nhut airport and then onto the suburbs of urban Australia, we are able to appreciate that the obvious victims (the deceased participants of war) are not Dawe’s only focus: he responds to the role of the mortuary workers who locate and name the deceased as well as to the families who are about to receive the horrible n...


... middle of paper ...


...plores the process of the return of fallen soldiers to Australia, the metaphor suggesting a happy return which does not take place; and also the various victims of the tragedy, including the mortuary workers and the families, as well as the grief that does not merit any award. A powerful and moving poem, it causes me to think about the wars in the world today and the Australians taking part in them – will the same thing that happened to the Vietnam soldiers happen to them? Will they simply be carted home without honour, only to be deposited on their family’s doorstep causing sorrow throughout the neighbourhood? This poem, despite it referring to the Vietnam War, holds a timeless message: that the victims of war are not only the deceased soldiers but any person who comes into contact with them and their story, including the mortuary workers and the grieving families.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of The Poem ' Homecoming ' By Bruce Dawe Essay

- By the centre, march. Left right, left right…. Can you imagine dying for your country’s freedom as a frontline combat soldier, or does the thought of studying poetry make you feel like firing a bullet into your own head. Take heart; don’t pull the trigger just yet, poetry can invigorate your senses and teach you valuable lessons. War destroys thousands of lives, but yet, the heroism of our fallen allows us to enjoy a privileged lifestyle, but their sacrifice often goes unnoticed. For this reason, Georgie and I have chosen war for our theme....   [tags: Poetry, Army, Vietnam War, Military]

Powerful Essays
1049 words (3 pages)

Homecoming by Bruce Dawe Essay

- Homecoming by Bruce Dawe The poem 'Homecoming' originates from Bruce Dawe. Its journey depicts the aspects of war and its devastations upon human individuals. Using mainly the Vietnam War as a demonstration for its destructions. Within this poem Bruce Dawe dramatizes the homecoming of Australian veterans' bodies from Vietnam. This is clearly an anti-war poem, reproducing the sentiments of those who opposed the time when this war occurred. The poem starts of in what seems to be a monotone. With many simple verbs such as 'picking......   [tags: Poem Poetry Poet Bruce Dawe Home Coming ]

Powerful Essays
779 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Bruce Dawe's Homecoming

- Bruce Dawe's Homecoming 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....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
747 words (2.1 pages)

Up the Wall, by Bruce Dawe Essay

- One of the many factors that have contributed to the success of Australian poetry both locally and internationally is the insightful commentary or depiction of issues uniquely Australian or strongly applicable to Australia. Many Australian poets have been and are fascinated by the issues relevant to Australia. Many in fact nearly all of these poets have been influenced or have experienced the subject matter they are discussing. These poets range from Oodgeroo Noonuccal Aboriginal and women’s rights activist to Banjo Patterson describing life in the bush....   [tags: Thematic Analysis]

Powerful Essays
878 words (2.5 pages)

Australian Poetry: An Analysis of Bruce Dawe's Poem, Life-Cycle Essay

- Bruce Dawe is considered to be one of Australia’s most influential poets of the 20th century. Dawe’s poems capture Australian life in numerous ways, whether it is our passion for AFL in Life-Cycle or our reckless nature towards war as in Homecoming. Dawe creates very complicated poems reflecting the author’s context relevant to the time period, your context is based upon your reading of the poem, where you may gather different meanings, to that of the original intent, hidden within the text. Life-Cycle: Written in the 1960’s this poem is one of the most famous of Dawe’s collection....   [tags: Poems, Poem Analysis]

Powerful Essays
970 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on War Poetry by Wilfred Owen and Other Poets

- War Poetry A popular theme for poets in the last century was war. Many famous poems were written about the two world wars, as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars. This essay will consider six poems with a war theme, three by Wilfred Owen and three by Australian poets. ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’, ‘The Send Off’ and ‘Insensibility (1)’ were written by Owen during the first world war to express his anti-war attitude. ‘Beach Burial’ by Kenneth Slessor, ‘Homecoming’ by Bruce Dawe and ‘Letter XV’ by Bruce Beaver are famous Australian poems about war....   [tags: Anthem for Doomed Youth The Send Off]

Powerful Essays
911 words (2.6 pages)

The Reality of War and Death Depicted in Owen's Poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est

- If we look at the history of the world with a kaleidoscope, we can see the different aspects of war and what effect it had on the mind of different people and artists such as poets, painters and authors. Many poets romanticized war, luring it with their pen and giving it a beautiful look by glorifying death and obliging young blood to fight for their motherland. For example the poems “Peace” by Rupert Brooke and “Fall In” by Harold Begbie painted war with the highlights of glamorous and sensation....   [tags: Poem Analysis, War Poem, Poetry]

Powerful Essays
1091 words (3.1 pages)

Theme of Power in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming Essay example

- The Theme of Power in The Homecoming Author: Sarah Marchant In Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming" one of the important themes is power. Many of the characters try to exert power. Many of the characters try to exert power over others through various means such as sexuality and intelligence. The use of violence within the household is believed by the men to be the most important tool of power. However, when Ruth, the only woman in the play, enters, she appears to defeat the men's power, but not with violence....   [tags: Harold Pinter Homecoming Essays]

Free Essays
2558 words (7.3 pages)

Bruce Dawe Essay

- Bruce Dawe Bruce Dawe is a prominent Australian poet born in 1930, in Geelong. His experiences as a laborer, postman, gardener, and in particular his 9 years as a sergeant in the Royal Australian Air Force, have enabled him to recollect and articulate his memories into a renowned compendium, Sometimes Gladness, which has been described as “perhaps the most successful book of verse by a contemporary Australian poet”. His anthology contains a variety of poems. The three I will be discussing include The Day that They Shot Santa Claus, The Wholly Innocent, and Homo Suburbiensis, all of which focus on life (or the lack of it) and its ups and downs....   [tags: Australian Poets Poetry Poems Essays]

Powerful Essays
710 words (2 pages)

Essay on Homecoming AQA Coursework This poem is a puzzle for the reader - there

- Homecoming AQA Coursework This poem is a puzzle for the reader - there are some things the poet has not told us. This poem is a puzzle for the reader - there are some things the poet has not told us, and without them, our reading of the poem relies on guesswork. This seems deliberate, as the first thing the poem invites us to do is to look at two things separately, then put them together. The poem is written mostly in the second person, addressed to “you”. This may at first seem to be the general reader, but later in the poem, Armitage writes “I” and “we” - and it seems that here he speaks to a particular individual....   [tags: English Literature]

Free Essays
1170 words (3.3 pages)