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"dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam" Shapes Our Views of War and Its Participants

Autor:   •  August 18, 2012  •  Essay  •  515 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,778 Views

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Bernard Edelman's anthology Dear American: Letters Home from Vietnam forms readers' judgments for America-Vietnam War and those who involved, especially the Vieterans, while the editor also purposely conceals some negative truths to some extent. Letters in Dear America portrays the Vietnam War to the readers as a violent, destructive, and meaningless experience. Moreover, by reading the letters and poems, readers know the letter writers more as individuals who suffered from the war physically and more importantly, psychologically: from their loss of lives and humanity, from their endurance of the ‘boonies' and guilty, and from their stand of unpredictable danger and unbearable pressure. While gaining knowledge about war and the servicemen, readers are also aware that some negative qualities of the grunts have been hidden for certain purposes. Edelman constructs ‘the letters and poems in this volume' to use as ‘tools for contemplation'. It is through the ‘contemplation' that readers form the views of the war, and have reconsideration about the servicemen in Vietnam: a large majority of these people deserve sympathy, honor and respect rather than dispute or contempt.

The anthology gives readers a full picture of the Vietnam War in various ways: the photos, the biographical notes and the impressive letters from the war participants. Edelman constructs Dear America into 8 chapters and each chapter begins with a genuine photo taken at that time. At the beginning of the first chapter, three ‘cherries' with their brand new equipment step into the battlefield; these are young and energetic lives. However, in the 8th chapter, readers see a group of soldiers salute to the flag-dragged coffins: those innocent lives come back in death. This contrast demonstrates the cruelty of the war: it is a loss of innocent and valuable human lives. Later, readers read John Riggan writing about the tragedy of Vietnamese loss of lives

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