Dien Cai Dau - Man-Imposed Prejudice Vs. NatureS Impartiality

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Man-imposed Prejudice vs. Nature’s Impartiality Dien Cai Dau by Yusef Komunyakaa depicts the experiences of African-American soldiers in the Vietnam War. Although “Tu Do Street” reveals the segregation between whites and blacks in Vietnam, Komunyakaa demonstrates the common humanity shared by black and white soldiers during combat in “Camouflaging the Chimera.” A recurring theme in Dien Cai Dau, nature personifies an ally of the soldiers: “Camouflaging the Chimera” presents nature as a protector of the soldiers regardless of the color of their skin, hence heightening a commonality among the soldiers. Through very suggestive diction and metaphors, Komunyakaa clearly displays the disparity between white and black soldiers in “Tu Do Street.” On the other hand, Komunyakaa uses vivid imagery in “Camouflaging the Chimera” to depict the active role of nature when protecting soldiers from the Viet Cong. The first two sentences of “Tu Do Street” foreshadow the content of the poem: “Music divides the evening. / I close my eyes & I can see men drawing lines in he dust.” (1-3) “Divides” and “lines” clearly suggest disunion. In the poem, disunion translates into the segregation that exists among American soldiers due to their race. Whites enforce separation even in Vietnamese “White Only” bars. This leads to speaker to sink in distress and ambivalence since his hope for unification has not fulfilled, he additionally asserts that “[African-American soldiers] have played Judas where / only machine-gun fire brings [them] / together.” (15-17). The speaker believes that the only parallel between him and a white soldier is a “machine-gun.” This image suggests that exasperation and indignation constantly invade the speaker’s mind, for he claims that the only bond among whites and blacks in Vietnam exists in the form of weaponry. Komunyakaa utilizes synecdoche –“Judas” for

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