Weapons Training Bruce Dawe Essays

Techniques Used In Bruce Dawes Poems

Alliteration: Repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of words placed near each other. 

Onomatopoeia: Words that sound like their meanings.

Repetition: The purposeful re-use of words and phrases for an effect.

Rhyme: Words that have different beginning sounds but whose endings sound alike, including the final vowel sound and everything following it, are said to rhyme.

Analogy: A comparison, usually something unfamiliar with something familiar.

Apostrophe: Speaking directly to a real or imagined listener or inanimate object; addressing that person or thing by name.

Contrast: Closely arranged things with strikingly different characteristics.

Hyperbole: An outrageous exaggeration used for effect.

Irony: A contradictory statement or situation to reveal a reality different from what appears to be true.

Metaphor: A direct comparison between two unlike things, stating that one is the other or does the action of the other.

Oxymoron: A combination of two words that appear to contradict each other.

Paradox: A statement in which a seeming contradiction may reveal an unexpected truth.

Personification: Attributing human characteristics to an inanimate object, animal, or abstract idea.

Pun: Word play in which words with totally different meanings have similar or identical sounds.

Simile: A direct comparison of two unlike things using “like” or “as.”

Symbol: An ordinary object, event, animal, or person to which we have attached extraordinary meaning and significance.

Rhetorical Question: A question solely for effect, which does not require an answer.

Themes Used in Bruce Dawe's Poems

Weapon's Training

·   The poem is an example of a sergeant dressing down a squad of recently enlisted recruits, likely for the air force of an Asian Campaign (references to “mob of little yellows”, “a pack of Charlie’s” and “their rotten fish-sauce breath” suggest Vietnam War a distinctive brand of in-built war propaganda

·      The theme in weapons training is war. War is bought out in this poem by the drill sergeant trying to pump up he’s platoon and get them ready for their stint in Vietnam.

·      There is also other themes in the poem that is anger and sadness they are shown through the drill Sargent yelling at his troops calling them rude names. And sadness how the people fill about having to go away.

·      The poet through the persona of a drill Sergeant (martinet) is inculcating the philosophy that it pays to learn to kill the enemy before he gets a chance to kill you.

·      Dawe is also suggesting that the all aspects of War are degrading, brutalizing and dehumanizing. While the language of the sergeant may be acceptable on the parade ground, it would be rejected by civilized society hearing it in their home surroundings or in respectable school classrooms.

·      Some critics claim that the persona is voicing his own fears of the men, his sexual inadequacy and his own vulnerability and mortality.

·      The poem illustrates the futility of most of the parade ground exercises, which are not relevant to actual fighting especially to the air force pilots.

·      Propaganda the army’s first  task is to turn normal civilized empathetic youth into hardened ruthless killing machines.  This can be achieved by a cold heartless and contemptuous drill sergeant’s belittling, degrading and brutalizing young recruits and dehumanizing or depersonalizing the enemy, depicting them as sub human savages.  Examples of this are Full Metal Jacket, Bruce Dawe’s Weapons Training or Henry V’s speech to his troops before the Battle of Agincourt. In 1914, WWI, German soldiers, Huns, were portrayed bayoneting Belgian babies.

Themes Used In Bruce Dawe's Poems

Brevity of happiness; the transience of life, nothing gold can stay Uncertainty in life of the drifter; “One day soon..” aimlessness, shiftless, feckless. Unpacked bottling set. Unfulfilled dreams; “Make a wish, Tom, make a wish.”Maturity and parental responsibility vs. Childhood’s infectious excitement “for no reason” puppy also dashes about. Younger daughter “beaming” anticipating new possibilities; Older daughter “is close to tears” maturely craving stability? Wife acquiescent, defeatist and subservient to husband’s whims or realistically accepting of Tom’s valid sixth sense of what is best? “she won’t even ask why they’re leaving this time..”

The family is unable to establish roots because they keep moving house/communities. Some people in the family like moving from place to place, but others don’t (the kids are ‘wildly exited’ and the oldest girl is ‘close to tears’). He mother has abandoned control of where the family is headed. Belonging to a place is closely tied to belonging in a family. All people in this family are affected by the father’s decision to relocate. To belong in this family, movement is necessary, despite individual wishes.Family members often have to compromise or sacrifice what they want in order to belong in their family. Some members wish to establish a permanent sense of place and others don’t.This is demonstrated through the juxtaposition of the differing perceptions of moving based on how they belonged in the place they were living – the oldest girl is on the verge of tears and the youngest girl is ‘beaming’. This is also shown in the mother’s acceptance of her ‘drifter’ lifestyle through the image of the ‘bottling-set / she never unpacked from Grovedale’. A lack of permanent place to live can provide for a spontaneous lifestyle – anything can happen. This is shown through the repetitive dialogue from the mother, ‘Make a wish, Tom, make a wish.’ The spontaneity of the lifestyle and the excitement caused by the announcement that they will be moving on is shown through the unusual ending of certain lines – ‘…tripping /everyone up’ and ‘…she was / happy here’. The position of the lines echoes the exited movement of the dog, getting in the way of the family packing.

Themes Used In Bruce Dawe's Poems


Homecoming by Bruce Dawe shows and checks the tragedies of the Vietnam War in an even-tempered, but negative tone.

·   The poem is based around the returning of passed soldiers in the sense that they were not appreciated.

·   Dawe utilises a variety of imagery and literary features to further emphasis the deeper significance while attempting to convey the message that war is unavailing and effectively a waste of human life.

·   In the second half the majority of the imagery is presented as well as the first mention of a feeling 'sorrowful'.

·   There is no specific structure maintained across the whole of the text, which allows for a more particular writing style unique to the poet.

·   The foremost section of the poem introduces the seemingly routine task of transporting dead bodies as if it were trivial.

·   Repetition is present to emphasise the dryness of the monotonous activities associated with war and homecoming. By example 'those they can

·   The structure of the poem, free verse, is significant because it is an effigy of the idea that war is free with virtually no structure like free verse. The key techniques is this poem would be, repetition and imagery.

·   Throughout the poem repetition is used in a symbolic way, saying that war is repetitive.

·   Imaginary is used in all poems to create a distinct mood.

Bruce Dawe Poetry Essay

English Essay

How has Bruce Dawe's poetry and the song 'Hero of War' challenge your views about war ?

Many Composers such as Bruce Dawe and Rise Against can encouraged the reader to alter their view and perspective about the war. Through Dawe's poem, "Homecoming and Weapons Training", and Rise Against's song "Hero of War", the true reality of war is shown as it is not always about being heroic and ethical but is about being in a constant battle not only in the war-zone but with yourself. Ideas such as Dehumanization, Loss of Dignity and Realities of War can be supported by poetic devices to further emphasize the idea of war. Through this it can be shown that Songs and Poetry can challenge the readers view on War.

The three texts of "Homecoming", "Weapons Training" and "Hero of War" all have a similar idea on getting the main message across to the reader. The idea of Dehumanization is a major part in War as it is the act of depriving human qualities, the act is done so that when in battle with the enemy team, the soldier's won't feel any sympathy when killing the enemy and/or innocent people. Within the poem "Homecoming" Dawe shows his concern on dehumanization, he states "they're picking them up,those they can find, and bringing them home, they're bringing them in,piled on the hulls of Grants." the quote shows the lack of respect that the corpses are getting and also they are still being treated as nobodies even though they are dead. Dawe does this primarily through the use of Impersonal Language and repetition "They're and them". His intention for this is to create a un-human like effect ,meaning that they are not human's but are walking killing machines.

Dawe's Poem "Weapon's Training" attacks the theme of Dehumanization as it is about a Drill Sergeant using dehumanizing effects on the soldiers. Within the poem the Drill Sergeant single's out a soldier shouting at him "you in the back row with the unsightly fat between your elephant ears open that drain of yours you call a mind and listen"

this shows us that the Sergeant is using a tactic by bringing emotional fear and anger to not only the person but the people around him and the aim of this tactic is to harden him up and build anger inside of him so that he can release his anger on the battlefield. Dawe uses Tone in this quote to help set the atmosphere and give a visual idea to the reader to make them feel empathy for the solider.

The song "Hero of War" by Rise Against has interpreted the theme of Dehumanization. This is shown in the following quote "We beat him with guns and batons. Not just once but again and again". the quote shows us that the soldiers are fully dehumanized meaning that they do...

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