Yusef Komunyakaa's Facing It

Topics: Vietnam War, Emotion, Vietnam Pages: 3 (1178 words) Published: April 22, 2014
Derrick Meyenburg
Professor Linda Cashman
ENC1102 Sec. 45
March 22, 2014
Yusef Komunyakaa’s Facing It.
Returning Vietnam veterans had an especially hard time reconnecting to the world upon their return home. Both their mental and physical stresses, compounded by the fact that there were a large number of people who chose to hate and beguile these men, caused them to be clinically depressed or even in some cases drove them to insanity. In Komunyakaa’s “Facing It”, we get an in depth look at the personal casualties and inner conflict set between the veteran and his inability to cope with the memories he is having.

It is most commonly thought that Komunyakaa is the narrator, telling this poem in first person straight from his memories of the Vietnam War. He uses the physical properties of his surroundings and the wall itself to illustrate his recollections. The polished surface of the wall casts a ghostly illusion to those who stare and gives an impression that Yusef Komunyakaa’s views of these ghosts are a representation of the struggle Yusef Komunyakaa suffers in search for his emotional resolve over the Vietnam War. It is easy to agree with Brown’s statement, “Ironically, the memorial is popularly referred to as "the wall" because it is shaped like a wall; however, its "nickname" also signifies the emotional dead end many survivors of the war come up against when visiting the site.” Brown 1. Over the entirety of his work, Komunyakaa plays with perception and illusion, showing that the memories of the war are still haunting him and interrupting his ability to recognize the correct time and space.

Included as one of his works in Dien Cai Dau, which shows many other faces of the Vietnam War, Komunyakaa’s “Facing It” is the second work shown in Dien Cai Dau, as well as his second work that the poet had finished. In an interview with Muna Asali, Komunyakaa stated, “In fact, I realized about a year after I completed Dien Cai Dau that I had been very...

Cited: Brown, James W. "Overview: "Facing It"." Poetry for Students 5 (1999): n. pag. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.
Komunykaa, Yusef, and Muna Asali. "An Interview With Yusef komunyakaa." Blue Notes: Essays, Interviews, and Commentary 207 (2000): 76-84. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.
Marvin, Thomas F. "Komunyakaa 's Facing It." The Explicator 61.2 (2003): 262. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.
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