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Word Count: 876
Homecoming by Bruce Dawe Homecoming was written in 1968 during the Vietnam War with the intent of making its audience aware of the senselessness and tragedy of war The poem deals with the numerous stages of bringing the dead home for their homecoming a supposedly joyous occasion worthy of great celebration The title serves as a constant reminder of what may have been Rather than coming home celebrating their heroic survival they are being bought home dead piled on the hulls of Grants in trucks in convoys and zipped up in plastic bags Dawe uses a number of clever poetic techniques in order to express his feelings towards war The repeated use of they and theyre in the first section hints at the impersonal relationship between the bodies and their handlers Dawe shows his audience how this is the harsh reality of war if people allowed the usual human luxury of compassion to overcome them every time they saw yet another dead body it would be too unbearable Rhythm is also used a great deal in the first section making it sound almost chant-like through the use of pauses that form a direct beat This rhythm suggests a slow mechanical process almost like an assembly line Interestingly Dawe goes against conventional methods of breaking his poem up into different stanzas Despite this it is evident that the poem exists in three main sections the gathering of bodies in the jungles of Saigon the flight back to Australian for the dead soldiers and finally the bodies returning home In the second phase of the poem this monotonous rhythm is abandoned Gone is the human touch from in the jungles of Saigon now the bodies are being lifted high now high and higher suggesting that the bodies are being taken to be laid to rest in heaven Words like noble whine and sorrowful are used to express the sorrow and regret that
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