3 Pages 744 Words
In the poem, “Facing It,” Komunyakaa Komunyakaa writes of his personal experience visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial after surviving the Vietnam War, and the inevitable aftermath of death’s reality. In the poem he touches on the feelings he experiences while coming to terms with the loss of friends. While visiting the memorial Komunyakaa is not only reminded of those he lost to the war, but also of the injustices those serving endured at the expense of their race. In a true example of man versus himself he allows the reader to experience the emotional reuniting he has with his feelings while at the memorial. The thematic issues of race, inequality, and realism are significantly present in the undertones of his poetic expression. Komunyakaa uses connotations and denotations to develop these themes. He uses them to draw the readers attention to the reality that race played not only in the war but also in his experiences at the memorial.
Komunyakaa places great emphasis on the comparisons he draws through the connotations of light and dark. His constant contrast of light, white, and reflection are starkly evident when marked against death, night, and black. The poem’s racial tense theme begins in the two opening lines,
“My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.” (1-2)
This theme of racial contrast is developed further as the poem transitions back and forth from light to dark. An important turning point in the poem is when Komunyakaa writes of the white veteran who fails to see him and instead looks through him as they both face the wall. The language of race separates two men who both served, and survived the same war,
“A white vet’s image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I’m a window.” (25-27)
The white vet sees through him as though he is not even there. He refers to himself as a window, something that people undoubtedly...
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