“Totoy’s War” by Luz Maranan, “State of Siege” by Eric Gumalinda, and “War is Kind” by Stephen Crane
Throughout our history, both recorded and unrecorded, there have been countless violent battles fought. From small skirmishes to full on declarations of war, humans have been involved with battling on another for all the reasons that they have. The only thing alarming is that, as time and technology progresses, the number of casualties and collateral damage have been increasing as well. In addition, the implications to the human mind, brought upon by the excessive violence, can be equally damaging. With that being said, the psychological implications brought upon by war can be reflected in several art forms, such as poetry.
War poems usually deals with how the persona of a particular poem, reacts to life altering events such as war. “Totoy’s War” by Luz Maranan, “State of Siege” by Eric Gumalinda, and “War is Kind” by Stephen Crane are just three examples of the many war poems that exist. Each of the poems conveys different messages, as well as utilizing different methods to convey the said message, despite having one common theme.
The Fear of the Children
“Totoy’s War” by Luz Maranan is easier to read poem, as compared to the other two poems mentioned. The poem is about the fear that people have during war times and how it affects various people, of all ages. The poem itself has no subliminal message that it wants to portray to its readers and is very direct with the matter of war – no use of metaphors, ironies, or difficult figurative language, whatsoever. The dramatic situation in the poem is that a child, Totoy, came to the persona asking “Is there a war?” (Maranan 2) with fear in his eyes. The persona then goes into contemplation about war in general. The persona first thinks about the situation going on in Iran and Iraq. The lines “Which side is winning, / Or being destroyed?” (Maranan 9-10) suggests that the ultimatum in war is that you can only win the war if you destroy your opponent. The persona then goes on to think about Middle East, and if anyone could explain the complexities of the decades of war and hate. The persona then leads more to the western part of the word, and talking about the “nuclear bombs in Europe” (Maranan 14) and the “extermination and massacre / In Central America” (Maranan 15-16).
The poem then ends with two questions, ideas that the poem would like to convey. The first of which was more of a general question of who started the war. The other idea would be how a child, such as Totoy, react if the persona told him that even in the country that they live, war is near. The persona’s concern in “Totoy’s War” is more on the implications of war to a child. Totoy is supposed to be an innocent child, only concerning himself with playing, yet at his young age, he is already plagued by the fear brought by war. The persona is very troubled by this fact and it is believed to be the reason why the persona was...