Compare and Contrast Essay on Works of Arts About the Vietnamese War

Paper Type:  Critical thinking
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1114 Words
Date:  2022-04-20


The Vietnamese war is evidently an experience that remains etched in the memories of all the people that had been involved. When one looks at the two experiences, of Yusef Komunyakaa and Tim O'Brien, one is bound to perceive the war from the different versions that have been retold by our loved ones and the bland narration that has been the case in the movies and the stories. When one reads the two excerpts, one is compelled to see the truths that have not been narrated in the previous narrations that we might have come across. This essay seeks to compare and contrast the experiences that the short story and the poem have in narrating the lessons that the war veterans had while they fought in the Vietnamese war.

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Both the poem and the essay are a significant break from the third-hand narration that one gets as they watch the movies or hear the description from the participants. Both the authors expose us to a world of being in a war and the consequences that come out of the people being involved in a fight. Apart from appealing to the emotional side of the reader, one gets catharsis as they continue to read especially once they realize some of the people that they had all along pitied were not even real. The imagery in the essay is one that helps one to have vivid imagery and ultimately relate to the struggles that the people experience if there is a war (Franklin,119). Given that the writers can redeem themselves despite the traumatic experiences, is a reason enough to make the two excerpts to be perceived as being different? Another striking similarity between the two, are the themes that the two handle. One of the most apparent similarities is the topic of friendship among the parties that one would agree that the bond that the two parties held was one that was important and helped them to withstand any other day. The relationship that is described in the poem between Andrew Jackson and the persona is one that highlights this message (Franklin,611). Besides, the two works of arts also talk about the Vietnamese war, and it is because of the traumatic experiences that they had had in Vietnam that sees the two pieces of work come to life.

It is also important to note that the two works of art, all talk from the first person point of view. In the poem, one sees the persona narrate his experiences the struggles of trying to come to terms of witnessing the death of the people that he had come to value and the difficulty of transitioning to a world that barely have an idea the struggle of surviving in such a harsh world (Franklin,02). In the essay, the story is also from a first-person narrator who at first talks about the struggles that he experiences as he goes through and after that the point of view transitions to an omniscient narrator who only now narrates the experiences of the other soldiers.

Some things make the story' The Things They Carried' to be different from 'Facing It' is the styles that the two prefer in delivering the message. The poem as it is expected of works of arts from such genres is the economy of words that the poet has used as a measure to deliver the message. The poem ensures that every word leads to the development of the overall image and the experiences that the people in the war of Vietnamese went through. Besides, the poem is one that is subjective as it only looks at the one experience of an ex-soldier and hence the lessons of the war are all folded into the perception of one soldier. One would however argue the terse nature of the poem is what compels the writer to do so. The style of the poem is a free verse that in about thirty one lines, narrates the experiences of the soldier. The first line for instance, hints at the race of the war veteran (Franklin,611). Use of symbols such as the granite that the persona is staring is a sure sign that the veteran is one of the strong-willed people that have been left after witnessing the horrors of the world war. This imagery and symbol is one that is direct to the fact that granite is one of the most durable stones that are found in the earth. The struggles that the persona faces as he is trying to relieve the memory of the war and maybe gain some closure that will help him in shifting to the healthy life is captured accurately in this line.

It is important to note that as one progresses in the poem, they can see the transition that takes place in persona as the poem progresses. At first, the poem makes one feel as if they are a voyeur and are infringing on one of the possibly most personal moments. The feeling changes as one progress to read the poem, they are instead confronted with the non-feeling hard as a stone person who is supposedly as hard as a granite (Franklin,611). The poem is one that is not void of symbols as the granite in itself is one that is used to create in the mind of the reader the image of a past, which had been highlighted by war and many other things. Other devices such as imagery are also captured when the persona touches that name of Andrew Jackson who was booby trapped and after that died (Franklin,611). The vivid description helps the poet to employ the use of imagery in his poem efficiently. The poem uses alliteration to create musicality and make the poem memorable to the reader. On the other hand, the short story employs the use of vivid description to pass on the message that it intends to deliver to the reader.


Looking at the psychological perspective of the two stories one sees the struggles that the people in the war have to go through as they are tasked with a parallel world. One would even argue that it is arguable that they are living with Post Trauma Disorder, as they are now presented with a world that demands normalcy and some form of routine. From a historical perspective, there is the documentation of the Vietnamese war and the struggles that the soldiers experienced, one would hence argue that it is a correct account of the experiences of the soldiers in the Vietnamese war.

Works Cited

Franklin, H. Bruce. The Vietnam War In American Stories, Songs, And Poems. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1996. Print.

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