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Bruce Dawe “Weapons training” Essay

Bruce Dawe is an Australian born poet that lived during the time of the Vietnam War. He lived through a changing time of social unrest, consumerism, and feminism, and it was all reflected in his poetry. His poetry revolves around the opinions of a society that didn’t agree with politics and created their own culture. The Vietnam War was controversial, as many argued involvement was unnecessary. Bruce did not agree with choices made by hierarchy in regards to the War, and expressed his beliefs through writing. Weapons training and homecoming are both poems that argue against the success of the Vietnam war by using strong imagery to bring the readers emotions into play. Bruce Dawes poem ‘Weapons Training’ is a piece written about experiences of the Vietnam War in an interesting and unconventional way.

The poem is written to give the public an idea of what it may be like as a soldier when being addressed to by an instructor. Rather writing a traditional poem with organised sentences devised with proper punctuation and grammatically correct phrases, he uses a predominant amount of slang to carry the tone of the unmannerly instructor. The way Bruce Dawe has refused the typical way of writing further casts a reflection of society’s behaviour at the time. The poem is an example of a sergeant dressing down a squad of recently enlisted recruits for the Vietnam War. References to “mob of little yellows”, “a pack of Charlies” and “their rotten fish-sauce breath” suggest of in-built war propaganda.

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