Poem Analysis: The Vietnam War

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The first stanza gives an account of the training that took place before the war. Puckapunyal, Canungra and Shoalwater are all Australian military training bases. An interesting note is that Denny is actually John Schumann’s wife. The song is based around his brother in-laws experience. The second stanza draws the reader to the main character of the song. “This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean. And there's me in my slouch hat with my SLR and greens.” The language used helped me visualise the solider standing there with his hat, rifle and army uniform. These two lines could be interpreted as the main character reminiscing in the glory, as he mentions the newspaper clipping. The third stanza talks about the places…show more content…
He is discussing the post-war effects he is suffering. The main character mentions insomnia, night time paranoia and a constant rash. The soldier is pleading for an answer from the doctor “Can you tell me what it means?” The symptoms he mentions are quite common when soldiers are diagnosed with PTSD or shellshock. Shellshock was a large problem in Vietnam as there was no care for the soldiers in the battlefield or after the soldiers came back from war. “A four week operation when each step could mean your last one on two legs” This line hints that the environment the soldiers were in was littered with landmines. The area they were fighting in was extremely dangerous. The soldiers could die anytime. Each step the soldiers took was a great risk. The soldiers had to be extremely careful where they stepped, as a step in the wrong place could mean that they were dead. “it was a war within yourself” The soldiers were forcing themselves to endure all pain they were suffering. The soldiers knew they couldn’t abandon the way and the only way to end their suffering was to die. A constant battle was had between themselves. In their mind, they had to keep suffering in order to survive. This is a basic human reaction. It was more than a physical war it was “a war within

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