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Original Analysis Of Poems

812 words - 4 pages

Ode to the Chameleon by Yusef Komunyakaa utilizes metaphors and allusion to convey and enhance the meaning of his poem. A very powerful metaphor used in lines three through five is, “You are a glimpse/of a rainbow, your eyes an iota/of amber” (Komunyakaa 3-5). Komunyakaa is comparing a chameleon to a faint rainbow or a small amount of amber, both of which are fairly special. Prior to reading the poem, someone may have never thought of a chameleon as being similar to a rainbow or a piece of amber. But, the poem brings chameleons into a new light; they are hard to spot, and when spotted, are unforgettable. The entire poem is an extended metaphor,comparing a chameleon to a soldier in combat. While in war, it is crucial to stay concealed in order to survive. Lines three through five demonstrate this similarity because, like spotting a chameleon, spotting an enemy soldier is rare as well as critical to success. The end of the poem tells of the chameleon’s hideaway. the poem reads, “Called into the hanging garden/you sit there, almost unseen/as dusky shadows climb/the blooming Judas tree” (20-23). Judas was one of Jesus’ disciples, but he betrayed Jesus. This betrayal lead Jesus to his crucification. Judas was also a chameleon, and Komunyakaa uses this allusion to highlight his theme. Judas was successful in a sense; his goal was for Jesus to die. This exemplifies the fact that ‘chameleons’ generally emerge as victors. But, Judas’ story does not end in glory. The extreme guilt he faced led him to take his own life, hanging himself from a tree. This piece of history is meant to illustrate that being a chameleon comes with a dark side. Komunyakaa uses metaphors and allusion to expose the struggles of a man or woman in combat. Comparing a soldier to a chameleon helps the average person to understand how a soldier must blend in to keep his life. By correlating chameleons, or soldiers, to rainbows and amber, he establishes the positive side of the job; camouflaging leads to success. Then, Komunyakaa alludes to the story of Judas, which exposes the dark side of the job. Soldiers cause and witness large amounts of death and despair while fighting. Komunyakaa himself had to be like a chameleon during his tour in Vietnam. Though he was serving his country and protecting people, he...

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