The Affect Of War On One's Innocence

1412 words - 6 pages

The simple definition of war is a state of armed competition, conflict, or hostility between different nations or groups; however war differs drastically in the eyes of naive children or experienced soldiers. Whether one is a young boy or a soldier, war is never as easy to understand as the definition. comprehend. There will inevitably be an event or circumstance where one is befuddled by the horror of war. For a young boy, it may occur when war first breaks out in his country, such as in “Song of Becoming.” Yet, in “Dulce et Decorum Est” it took a man dying in front of a soldier's face for the soldier to realize how awful war truly is. Both “Song of Becoming” and “Dulce et Decorum Est” are poems about people experiencing the monstrosity of war for the first time. One is told from the perspective of young boys who were stripped of their joyful innocence and forced to experience war first hand. The other is from the perspective of a soldier, reflecting on the death of one of his fellow soldiers and realizing that there is nothing he can do to save him. While “Song of Becoming” and “Dulce et Decorum Est” both focus on the theme of the loss of innocence, “Song of Becoming” illustrates how war affects the lives of young boys, whereas “Dulce et Decorum Est” depicts the affect on an experienced soldier.
In “Song of Becoming,” Fadwa Tuqan displays the path of young boys forced to deviate from their innocence far too young. The poem begins with a portrayal of young boys' typical behavior, “they're only boys/who used to frolic and play” (Tuqan 1-2). Images of their “blue green red kites” (4) imply their carefree and childlike manor. The speaker then casually references war, explaining that the boys' playing consists of “fencing with branches, assuming the roles/of great heroes in history” (8-9). It is evident that the boys aspire to be like these great heroes of war, though they are yet to find out how inglorious war really is. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict forces the boys to leave their toys and mature far beyond their years: “they've grown suddenly now/grown more than the years of a lifetime” (10). They are obliged to face the sad reality that a child should not have to face, as their prior, joyful life is interrupted.
The poem “Song of Becoming” conveys that since the young boys have grown up amidst war, they may engage in war themselves when they are older. The speaker fears for what the future may hold for these boys. As the boys have grown into men, into soldiers, they've “become the worshipped and the worshipper,” (27) meaning they are the “great heroes of history” (9) they idolized as children. A warring state is never a healthy environment for anybody, specifically children because war is all these boys will come to know. It does not solely destroy one's physical environment, but the lives of the individual as well: “when their torn limbs merged with the stuff of our earth/they became a legend (28-29). Although the soldiers with “torn limbs”...

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