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Analysis and comments on What Were They Like? by Denise Levertov

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Comment 29 of 119, added on February 1st, 2010 at 5:39 PM.

I'm studing this at the moment in my GSCE English Literature Class at
school. I'm finding it quite hard to understand more than one contrast in
the poem. If anyone has any more ideas than what already has been
mentioned, I would be grateful.

I undersatnd the contrast between polite and brutal part of the poem. Also,
the fact some is based on before war and then the result of the war leacing
the community deserted and dead.

Anyway, any more idea?
Please comment.
It would be sooooo helpful.
Thanks. Lucy

Lucy from United Kingdom
Comment 28 of 119, added on December 22nd, 2009 at 1:00 PM.

its gud

lkkl from Brunei Darussalam, Negara
Comment 27 of 119, added on December 9th, 2009 at 5:11 PM.

in this poem it is divid into two section answers and questions , in this
it is trying to say that there are two people one asking the questions and
the other be the know it all giving te answers, this poem is writen in
pseudo-journalistic technique. the message that the poem is trying to give
to the reader that is that war only causes death and distruction and there
is no winer in a war .

in line 27 it says there is an echo this means that war will always
existand that war will never end also the poem is based on facts on the on
the war.

just to let you know i am studying this in high school and to get the
understanding of what this poem is trying to get is quit simpy.

Comment 26 of 119, added on November 8th, 2009 at 11:49 PM.

The reason that she put "Viet Nam" instead of "Vietnam" is because that's
how it is actually supposed to be spelt, the Americans just spell it
differently to everyone else for some reason.

Danny from United Kingdom
Comment 25 of 119, added on March 18th, 2009 at 5:23 AM.

It's a little sad that no-one has commented on the poem's structure. It's
one of the only aspects of the poem that set it apart from the truckloads
of anti-war poems available out there.

Note in particular the separation of the word "Vietnam" in line 1. Before
you attempt to analyse this poem, keep in mind its context. In the Vietnam
War, the nation of Vietnam was split into two warring factions, the
Communist North, and the Democratic South. Now that we have established
this fact, the separation of "Vietnam" in line 1, and the division of the
questions and answers into two distinct portions (as opposed to answers
immediately following questions, takes on a greater significance. These lay
down the theme of irreconcilable separation, although the nature of the
separation is still open to interpretation.

Ideological differences? Territorial rifts? It's up to you to explore. Try
looking at the poem from a different angle, and you might be surprised at
what you can find.

Of course, there is plenty more to analyse in the poem, such as the theme
of irrevocable loss, as well as the contrast between the polite, formal
tone of the poem and the unflinching brutality of the images it conveys,
but the structure of the poem remains the most unique aspect of Levertov's
work. At least, that's my opinion.

Joel from Singapore
Comment 24 of 119, added on December 16th, 2008 at 9:29 AM.

I relii like this poem we are studying it at the moment in english
please get bac ot me if anyone can explain it .. im begging

Jordiee from United Kingdom
Comment 23 of 119, added on December 15th, 2008 at 3:52 PM.

hi my fellow poem readers
i cant belive this poem, it is so traditional yet funny and also a bit
annoying if you get me. this poem will be the future of all poems. my life
lies in this poem and i will never forget the happiness i brought to me.
please get back to me if you want to discuss life and this poem .

peace out matt

matthew ratcliff from United Kingdom
Comment 22 of 119, added on November 14th, 2008 at 3:14 AM.

ows it anging blud. i am a cool guy

Ali G from Australia
Comment 21 of 119, added on November 14th, 2008 at 3:12 AM.

well this is the type of poem i like because it is slightly camp

Matt Parsons from Canada
Comment 20 of 119, added on November 5th, 2008 at 11:16 AM.

A great poem, really deep but very sad. Quite hard to study, I'm doing it
for English at the moment, but still good. Lauren, Georgia, don't be harsh.

Ellie from United Kingdom

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Information about What Were They Like?

Poet: Denise Levertov
Poem: What Were They Like?
Added: Mar 17 2005
Viewed: 1106 times
Poem of the Day: Jan 19 2015

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