Friday, March 29, 2013

Precise SPOTTTS: Death in Viet Nam


 
 
 
How does the author's use of poetic devices--imagery and diction--and structure and syntax emphasize the meaning of the work as a whole? Please do not forget to post and respond to two of your peers' SPOTTTS.
 
Death in Viet Nam
               by Luis Omar Salinas
The ears of strangers
                                  listen
fighting men tarnish the ground
       death has whispered
                                    tales to the young
and now choir boys are ringing
                                          bells
      another sacrifice for America
                         a Mexican
      comes home
his beloved country
      gives homage
and mothers sleep
                             in cardboard houses
      let all anguish be futile
tomorrow it will rain
and the hills of Viet Nam
resume
       the sacrifice is not over

42 comments:

  1. Within the poem, Death in Viet Nam by Luis Salinas, the hardships in which Mexican Americans faced during the war. The death of Mexican soldiers within the Vietnam War can be described as “bitter” and “sacrificial” in terms of this poem. Furthermore, the Mexican soldiers appear disconnected towards the very country they are fighting for due to the poverty in which their families reside in even after these men sacrifice their lives. Consequently, such imagery allows one to view the harsh reality in which many Mexicans lived in during the war. The poet’s diction choices (“futile…sacrifice…cardboard…) allow a somber mood to be established within the poem. Consequently, such a melancholy feeling is merely enhanced due to the structure of the poem. If certain phrases were to be removed from the poem a powerful war hymn might resemble the poem in a better light, however, due to the ever present syntax the poem takes on a more gloomy presence. The numbers of men lost during the Vietnam War were countless; nevertheless, such lives should not have been lost in vain—much like the Mexican men’s lives were. The war itself caused turmoil throughout the U.S. yet men continued to die in support of the cause. Soldiers are to be honored upon death—not mercifully sacrificed—yet if the U.S. cannot fulfill which such a simple compliance then it is no wonder that Mexican’s were disconnected towards such an unfaithful and unreliable country. Nonetheless, every usage of diction, imagery, syntax, and structure allows for the meaning of the work as a whole to be presented—with such a meaning being that men will always be sacrificed for the greater good, even if such a sacrifice is unwarranted and unjust.

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    1. Emilia the view you presented is wonderful. Why different then my view. (I think I might need help)
      What phrases should be removed to provide a light presence?

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    2. Thank you Miguel. The phrases that would need to be removed would be "a Mexican/in cardboard houses/let anguish be futile/the sacrifice is not over". I think my view was different than yours due to my focus being on the separation of the two cultures while you looked towards their unification in the long run. I don't think that your view is wrong necessarily, you read the poem and interpreted it within your own light.

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    3. Brianna RodriguezMarch 31, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      Emilia, I like your comment on Mexican Americans being disconnected towards their country. Their struggle to be accepted in their country is a controversial topic. Unfortunately, this puts Mexican Americans in a rough position, not only are they not accepted into their own country their lives are being lost for that same country. As a result, this further emphasizes their fight to be accepted within their country. Their sacrifices only proves their loyalty, however, it was not enough for Americans to accept them.

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    4. What type of meaning do you think will the poem provide if the poet did not put the last column?

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    5. Please answer Kristo's question. I am interested to read your response.

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    6. @Kristo: If the last column was removed then I would probably think the meaning of the poem dabbled along the consequences of war from the perspective of a soldier's loved one. However, such an emphasis can relate back to the theme of unjust deaths during war in the sense that Mexican men fight only for their loved ones to continue living miserably upon their untimely end. Therefore, in a way I believe that the poem would have some of the same meaning only with a central focus towards those affected by the war rather than the soldiers themselves.

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  2. In the poem, Death in Viet Nam, by Luis Omar Salinas, Salinas brings forth the difficulties Mexican Americans undertook during the Vietnam War. With the poetic devices imagery and diction taken into effect the poem stands out towards the audience with the format of the poem. The poet separates words like Vietnam (Viet Nam) and Mexican American (Mexican) to separate the idea of being one or unified. Using imagery to provide an insight of the war and how it still is not over. Followed by diction which establishes the words "death", "sacrifice" and "anguish" forces the sense of struggle and pain during the Vietnam War. Looking towards the overall theme of the poem, the theme would be Hope that American and Mexican can be unified so that there would be no difference.

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    1. Miguel I really liked how you compared the title's separation towards the separation of the Mexican and American culture. However, I was wondering how you garnered the theme of hope from the poem? Which lines helped you find this theme?

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    2. "The sacrifice is not over."
      This line was key for me forming the theme of Hope. Sacrifice that one day the cultures would be one so there would be no difference.

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    3. Brianna RodriguezMarch 31, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      The pain of the Vietnam War flows through the lives of many Americans. I agree that the diction emphasizes such emotions of those who had to endure such pain. Miguel, I agree with your post on how war is still occurring. I feel that there will always be a constant battle to be unified. It is unfortunate that the struggles to be accepted is constantly ignored and Mexican Americans still fight for their equality and to become one with Americans.

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    4. What are you stating is the theme? Are struggle of the Mexicans the theme?

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    5. I hate to be a Debbie downer, but I agree with Kristo: What is the theme? Please elaborate a bit more on your claim about hope. I am trying to make the connection and having a difficult time. Please go deeper.

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    6. Hmm, this precise is a bit vague. There's not much in terms of analysis and the theme you suggested for the poem seems cliched; nor does the theme reflect what you are analyzing in the bulk of your precise. My apologies but I don't believe that this is a proper precise but rather a rushed attempt of getting something posted.

      - Kiet

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    7. Kiet: No it wasn't. I'm just having a difficult time comprehending the prompt.

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    8. Miguel I have to agree with the rest. I am unsure of how you saw “Hope” as the theme for the poem. Did you consider the broken columns in the poem? If so how can you correlate it to Hope?

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    9. What part of the prompt is confusing Miguel.

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    10. I apologize. My words are poorly put. I meant to say that your precise gives the impression of a rushed job not that I'm implying it actually is.

      - Kiet

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    11. I am going to have to agree with the Kiet the way you analyzed the poem is dull, not much of an analysis. It is clear that you attempted to read closely instead of closely reading.

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    12. Esperanza ElizarrarazMarch 31, 2013 at 11:50 PM

      Miguel, I liked what you said about the poet separating certain words to represent the idea of being one or unified because I would not have thought of that myself. However I would have liked it if you would have gone more in depth about the imagery and diction of the poem contributed to your perspective on it.

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  3. In Luis Salinas’s poem, Death in Viet Nam, exposes the various hardships encounter by the Mexican Americans such as the financial struggles and person lost. The separation of the word Vietnam allows readers to infer of the separation of the Vietnam as a country due to the communist. Furthermore, the separation Vietnam emphasizes the separation of the Mexicans from the Americans. Throughout the poem, the narrator mentions “a Mexican”; the article a, indicates one Mexican does not matter. The article also refers Americans as not accepting the Mexican race as part of the United States. The poet develops the theme of Americans not fully accepting Mexicans through syntax and diction. Salinas separates the each line different – which could be read straight down—in order to reveal the disunion of Mexicans and Americans as residents of the United States. The poet separates each line differently in order to expose the insignificance Mexicans felt in America. The poem is divided into three separate columns (when each column is read separate) it unfolds the many conflicts Mexicans had encounter. For one, death of a love one in the war or the financial difficulties which lead to cardboard homes are many of the struggles. The struggles of Mexicans appear as meaningless because the war – situation of communist – in Vietnam remains the same after all the sacrifices.

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    1. What would be your intake on the Mother?
      I thought the mother would expose a sense of worry for their loved ones at war.

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    2. Good Evening:

      Your post actually makes sense, but I am forced to make connections. There are many assertions and debatable claims sprinkled throughout that I wish you had have developed. You clearly understood the theme and tones developed by the poet, which is awesome!.
      Finally, I love how you said: "The poem is divided into three separate columns (when each column is read separate) it unfolds the many conflicts Mexicans had encounter." I felt that you articulated the structure in a manner that was tangible and logical. Good Job!

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    3. As pointed out by Mr. Happy, your statement about the poem's division into three columns is applause-worthy. I, myself, find it difficult to analyze the structure in such a unique manner as you were able to do so. So kudos to you. This may just be nitpicking so don't take it as a serious matter but I noticed that you may have rushed a little when typing up your precise due to errors such as one or two missing words and some awkward phrasing. Fortunately, it's not serious enough to hurt the primary message you are attempting to convey.

      - Kiet

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  4. Brianna RodriguezMarch 31, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    In his poem “Death in Viet Nam,” Luis Omar Salinas reveals an ongoing and ever-present struggle faced by Mexican Americans including their ever-constant battle to be accepted by Americans over time. Mexican Americans are seen as a minority, and over time their struggles are highlighted through their actions. Salinas use of rhetorical devices: structure, imagery, and punctuation, allow him to further emphasize the exploitation of the Mexican American people. “a Mexican”, (line 8) helps to explicitly demonstrate the true feelings Americans feel to Mexicans. “a Mexican” infers a person inferior to those around them, however that same Mexican is out there sacrificing their life for a country that refers too them as “a Mexican” and in a condescending tone that associates with degrading. Americans seem to live in their own world and are hesitant to accept others and willingly place those they oppose in unfortunate situations. In contemporary times, Mexicans Americans are working the low end jobs and are willing to make sacrifices for their families—whether its fight in war or working 24/7—Mexican Americans fight for their rights and earn their respect. Salinas presents a dysfunctional time for Mexican Americans. The structure of the poem highly demonstrates the madness that one must endure when living a life in war. Salinas purposefully separates different sections of the poem to highlight the many ways it can be read. Moreover, the reader can conclude the different ways to read the poem as a representation of the different ways the stories of war and struggles of Americans and Mexican American is told. The structure pattern further represents the meaning of the work as a whole: sacrifice for a better future. The many ways the poem can be interpreted represents the many ways Mexican Americans try to be accepted into the American society. All in all, the author is able to highlight the sacrifices Mexican Americans made in order to be accepted by their country.

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  5. WOW! This post answers every part of the response. I would like for you revise your assertion and or debatable claim. You can make it clearer.
    Also, there are moments where you awkwardly case/frame your argument; it de-sophisticates your tone making it more casual.
    I am interested to know your thoughts about the sacrifice.

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  6. In the poem Death in Viet Nam, written by Luis Omar Salinas, the poet exposes the hardships suffered by Mexican-Americans during the Vietnam War. Salinas paints a vivid masterpiece that encompasses motifs such as death, languish, mistreatment, and sacrifice -- all of which serving as a stark reminder that some battles are fought in vain. The poem is a bitter reality check. Despite the fact that the brave, young Mexican-American soldiers are fighting for their country, their country offers them and their loved ones no rewards; instead, only fruitless recognition. While the young men reluctantly fight their government's war, their loved ones at home suffer conditions unthinkable of a country whose civilians preach the "American Dream". Powerful imagery such as "mothers sleep in cardboard houses" (lines 13 and 14) convey the cruelty suffered by those at home while the line "the sacrifice is not over" (line 19) confirms the continuation of the brutal struggle abroad. One particular piece of diction is particularly poignant and that is the use of the words "a Mexican" (line 9). Contextually, the words are used to gauge the importance of the Mexican-American soldiers to their country, and it seems as though the Mexican-Americans' country treats them as if they are second-rate citizens; not even worthy of a name or face. The unusual, broken structure of the poem acts as a representation of the broken conditions and promises of the United States to the Mexican-Americans and the lack of any punctuation serving as breaks symbolizes the continuous suffering of the Mexican-Americans. Even the "Viet Nam" used in the title is a representation of the separation felt by the Mexican-Americans to the very own country they're sacrificing for. Death in Viet Nam serves as the words for the voiceless Mexican-Americans battling abroad and at home during this terrible war. The poem reinforces a poignant notion stating that -- unlike in fiction -- in reality, the sacrifices people make are oftentimes unrewarded.

    - Kiet

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    1. Fabulous response!!!!! Very well crafted!!!!

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    2. Keit, can you clarify how “a country whose civilians preach the "American Dream" correlates to your point made on the conditions the families faced. Moreover, your interpretation of the theme, of sacrifices being unrewarded, was clearly reinforced through the analysis of the imagery and broken structure. I have to also agree on how you saw the poem “as the words for the voiceless”.

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    3. Daniela, to clarify, the purpose of that statement is meant to show just how deplorable the conditions actually were. Some foreigners, when they think of America, they think of the American Dream -- "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage"-type of deal. However, the conditions faced by the Mexican-Americans in the poem are far from that notion. The purpose of the statement is merely to strengthen the argument that the families are very poorly-treated.

      - Kiet

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  7. In the poem Death in Viet Nam by Luis Omar Salinas, Salinas reveals the discrimination Mexican Americas faced in the U.S., even after their collaboration in aiding the country with soldiers during the Vietnam War. The literary devices Salinas incorporates in the poem, such as diction and imagery, correlates to the doleful mood with words as “sacrifice” and “ death” which are used to describe the injustice done to Mexican Americans during the time. Furthermore, the structure contains shifts in the unconventional stanzas which allow the reader to read the poem in different perspectives. The speaker of the poem illustrates an indignant mood, which is displayed as the author separates the stanzas and lines to demonstrate the Mexican Americans exploitation in the United States, thought they have served the country during war.

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    1. The way you structured your paragraph was great but you needed a little more collaboration to make your debatable claim stronger.

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    2. I like the fact that you played with punctuation and transition words but I am agree with Adaleyci more explanation would have made your precise stronger.

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    3. Nice post you appear to have understood the poem and have developed your own ideas; however, you stated that "which allow the reader to read the poem in different perspectives" what are the perspectives? And how does the reader know which perspective is the truth?

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    4. Esperanza ElizarrarazMarch 31, 2013 at 11:46 PM

      I do agree with what you said about the discrimination that Mexican Americans faced in the war, however you also talk about 'imagery' that correlated to this 'doleful mood' . Can you explain what sort of images you get from reading the poem that led to this mood?

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  8. In the poem "Death In Viet Nam" Luis Omar Salinas reveals that racism and descrimination towards Mexican Americans is still evident even towards those fighting for the very country that descriminates against them. Salinas' artistic use of rhetorical devices-- imagery, structure, and punctuation-- enable him to effectively convey the struggles of Mexican Americans. "and mothers sleep/in cardboard houses" (lines 13-14) displays the horrid conditions Mexican American families lived in even while their: sons, brothers, and fathers were fighting for the country. Salinas masterfully structures the poem by seperating it into two possible interpretations-- the view of Mexican Americans society wants to portray and the reality of the present descrimination-- "another sacrifice for America/ a Mexican" (lines 8-9) displays this structural seperation; society wants to appear sympathetic to the deaths in the war; however, in reality society feels that the loss was just "a Mexican". Salinas' tone shifts back and forth through the poem; he first appears admiring of the soldiers who fought in Vietnam then he becomes cynical of America and society's actions towards Mexican Americans. Just as Salinas divides the word "Viet Nam" he believes America too is divided; Salinas never uses and ending punctuation mark because just as the poem does not end neither does the sacrifice made by Mexican Anericans and the descrimination they have to live with.

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  9. In the poem, Death In Viet Nam by Luis Omar Salinas the author crafts the complicated life Mexican American soldiers had when they aided the country during the Vietnam War. Through the description of the soldier’s sacrifice the author creates: structure patterns, personification, and shifts to create emphasis on the message and the tone/attitude of the poem. The author develops the message by creating different structure patterns; strictly the patterns create different interpretations of the message and all create a different tone; second, the personification used, “death has whispered” builds a deeper feeling within the poem to highlight the dangerous sacrifice the soldiers are facing; thirdly, the poem has shifts to enforce the overall attitude of the poem, reproachful. Because of the literary techniques the author uses the readers are able to encounter with a theme of “helpful disadvantage.”

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    1. I really like your point of view and you seem to know what it is you want to say; however, some of your wording is difficult to read. Lastly can you explain what the overall attitude of the poem is?

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  10. In the poem” Death in Viet Nam” by Luis Omar Salinas, Salinas reveals the prejudice Mexican Americans faced in the USA, even though they clearly showed patriotism towards a country that sees them as just “ another sacrifice” for the cause, whatever it maybe. The literary devices Salinas employs in the poem are diction and imagery which are in parallel with the melancholy mood created by words like “death” and “sacrifice” describing how unappreciated and replaceable Mexican Americans were during the time. Moreover, the unconventional but purposeful structure contains major shifts allowing the reader to have different point of views depending on how they decided to read the poem. Throughout the poem the author does not uses punctuation which connects to the last sentence which states that” the sacrifice is not over. “

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  11. Esperanza ElizarrarazMarch 31, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    In Luis Salinas's poem, "Death in Vietnam", the poet reveals the struggles and the opposition that Mexican Americans faced in their personal struggle to better their lives and when they fought in the Vietnam War. Through the poet's use of diction, tone, and structure the poet is able to demonstrate how Mexican Americans were looked down upon by others, even when they were aiding in the war. In line 9, they are referred to as "a Mexican". The author's degrading tone places an unimportant aura around Mexican Americans and it demonstrates that they are and will always be replaceable in the eyes of Americans. Americans are most definitely reluctant to accept someone that is not part of them, however Mexican Americans took up the duty of helping to defend the country because they needed the money. In lines 13-14, the poet talks about the mothers of those fighting, and how back at home they have to sleep on cardboard houses. These two lines were definitely very powerful and it helped the reader to sympathize with Mexican Americans and it placed their struggles on a very humane level. Through the poet's unique use of structure, this allowed for a variety of interpretation of the poem. In my eyes, the structure related to how each person's situation was different and each Mexican American had their own viewpoint and their own story to tell. However, all these different situations and struggles come together in this war with one same end in sight -- to have a better life than before.

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  12. In the poem, "Death in Viet Nam," the poet Luis Omar Salinas illustrates the sacrifices the residents--recognized as "Mexicans" throughout the poem-- of the country must be commited to in order to mantain the "home" they so longed for. Eventhough many people, as identified in the poem, the struggles of "a Mexican" (line 9) are overlooked and never truly appreciated. In America the culture and the races are no longer one, as "inferior" races have bred within other races such as: Mexican Americans. Eventhough the Mexican Americans fought in Vietam along many other young men the Mexicans have a bad reputation and are no longer appreciated nor regarded, they are left for dead as if they were just any other number. The poem functions as a insight for what the people truly taugh about the Mexicans who faught in the war. Salinas uses: imagery, symbolism, and strucuture in order to formulate the taught process and the point of view of all of those who have an opinion about the Vietnam war. As the structure can be interpreted in many ways the different strucures represent the different point of views about the Vietnam war, and their Mexican soldiers. Due to the complex strucuture of Salinas poem, her attitude appears to be observative as she analyzes the product result of society and their judgments towards actions they would never be willing to commit for the sake of their country. Even in todays society, Mexicans are looked own upon by many, eventhough they are now given more rights and more justifications they are still labeled as the "minorities," and judged because they are 'taking the roles of 'Americans' in the work feild." Salinas makes a remarkable statement "tomorrow it will rain" (line 16) which stood out the best because even with deaths, despair, and history to learn from Society will continue to be judgmental, Society will continue to be unaccepeting. No matter how much a certain culture will work for their respect their will be no respect if society does not accept the truth within itself. Throughout historical events it is evident that Mexican Americans have fought to be where they are today but Salinas pointds out that their will never be TRUE recognition unless the United States limits its ego.

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  13. Luis Salinas, in his poem "Death in Viet Nam" exposes the in injustice of the means in which a race must endure in order to achieve honor from America (a country based on equal rights). Salinas bitterly articulates through this well-crafted poem how the little regard that was had for the loss of 'a mexican (line 9).' It is assumed that a country would do everything it could to protects it's protector's and their families. Yet, through the employment of the literary devices--irregular punctuation, vivid imagery, and bellicose diction--Salinas highlights that protection for the protectors is the least bit worry of this country. Subsequently, the most important detail of this poem is the title 'Death in Viet Nam'. The separation of the word Viet Nam forces the reader to pronounce the country in a way that sounds nothing like the proper pronunciation. This reinforces that idea that the not only is the location of this war, but also it's purpose is foreign. Through the surname of the poet, we can assume that Luis Omar Salinas was also of Hispanic heritage. Through the irregular structure of the poem, and the isolation of 'a mexican' in line 9, it is obvious that he feels nothing but bitterness towards the blind sacrifice of what is supposed to be a mexican-american.

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