dc113507 on Apr 8th 2012
“Perhaps this war will pass like the others which divided us leaving us dead, killing us along with the killers but the shame of this time puts its burning fingers to our faces. Who will erase the ruthlessness hidden in innocent blood?”
Divided, tortured, heartbroken and scarred. These are just some words that can begin to describe a people living in a war torn society. Mothers seeing their sons off to fight, knowing they may never come home again, children seeing their father or mother depart for a foreign land, not understanding why they’re going away and being too young to know the enormity of their absence. Writers across time have taken the liberty to write down reactions to the heartache and anguish of war. Literary texts have been written satirizing war, condemning the very nature of its existence as well as the corrupt political heads behind it.
Pablo Neruda’s collection of poetry we read in class is one example of a writer, so fed up with the tragedies of war that he took it upon himself to write reactionary works expressing his disgust. Two such poems that take on an anti war approach are ‘Walking Around,’ and ‘I’m Explaining a Few Things.’ Neruda’s political activist approach in these works expresses the contempt he felt regarding the Spanish Civil War. The reader can see in the poem ‘Walking Around’ that Neruda has had enough of the calamities associated with war. He is ‘tired of being a man..’ He voices his hatred for public government officials when he says ‘..it would be delicious to scare a notary with a cut lily.’ ‘I’m Explaining a Few Things,’ further shows Neruda’s frustration and aggravation with war and society in general. He chastises society for expecting him to write poems flourishing with beauty and decorative language, when he is reminded daily of the horrors of war when he walks in the street and sees the blood of children. Neruda’s poetry forces the reader to see the stupidity and ignorance that accompanies war. Although undoubtedly war has been fought in the past for legitimate purposes, many fail to contemplate the tragedies of war unless if is directly affecting their homes or loved ones, forcing them to deal with it first hand. Neruda’s poem is a reminder of that.
War torn society has been no stranger to our country this past decade. Perhaps you may feel that since the beginning of the War against Terror no writer or scholar has taken the liberty to creatively satirize or ridicule war. However this is not true. The newest phenomenon to captivate our society today, ‘The Hunger Games Trilogy,’ was a result of author Suzanne Collins attitude toward modern day war. Collins was inspired to write ‘The Hunger Games’ while channel surfing the television one day and seeing heinous video clips of war followed by commercials for absurd reality TV shows. Collins is quoted as saying the two sets of footage “began to blur in this very unsettling way,” prompting her to draft ‘The Hunger Games.” The books tackle somber themes that the reader may overlook while burying themselves in Collins enchanting texts. ‘The Hunger Games” makes comments on poverty, oppression and the effects of war on individuals and society as a whole. Twenty-four young men and women, known as tributes, are forced to fight in an arena till their death, until only one is left standing. The entire spectacle is televised for the nation to watch as the drama unfolds. Tributes are forced to adopt a war-mentality, not unlike many soldiers forced to fight in combat in poorer countries around the world today. Although “The Hunger Games” is without question an entertaining, suspenseful book, I think it would be foolish to ignore the warning signs, and critical comments on society being hinted at throughout the books. The heavy importance our society places on trivial Hollywood shows and celebrities is becoming more and more apparent. We all have a tendency to turn a blind eye to the horrors of war and poverty. Similar to Neruda’s poetry, Collins is urging us to see the fault in our neglect of wartime horrors.