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Homecoming by Bruce Dawe

            "Homecoming", by Bruce Dawe, illustrates and recounts the tragedies of the Vietnam War in an even-tempered, but negative tone. The poem is based around the literal returning of passed soldiers in the sense that they were not appreciated. Dawe utilizes a variety of imagery and literary techniques to further emphasize the deeper significance while attempting to convey the message that war is unavailing and effectively a waste of human life.
             "Homecoming" makes use of enjambment throughout, more so in the second half, where the majority of the imagery is presented as well as the first mention of a feeling 'sorrowful'. There is no specific structure maintained across the whole of the text, which allows for a more particular writing style unique to the poet. Due to the relatively cynical tone the poem reads at a steady pace averting the possibility of heedlessly skipping through.
             The foremost section of the poem introduces the seemingly routine task of transporting dead bodies as if it were trivial. The tone at which it is spoken is relatively tedious and repetitive. Repetition is present to emphasize the dryness of the monotonous activities associated with war and homecoming. By example 'those they can find' which indicates the insignificance and the fact that it has developed into a routine practice, without a great deal of concern. 'They're', made use of at the beginning of five consecutive sentences highlights exactly this. Furthering this sense of repetition is how it shows little regard and at the same time presents the soldiers impersonally - without a reverent identification. The poet describes how the process of bringing them home is constantly in occurrence as soldiers are incessantly perishing - "all day, day after day." Additionally the word 'them', integrated so casually, supports the dehumanizing tone intended to display detachment of the living from the dead.
             Poetic devices are used to highlight the negativity and underlying themes of anti-war and the way by which society regards those brave enough to face battle after they have done their job.

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