I need to do a critical analysis stating the good and bad points of "Storming the Desert" by John Tolin. Can anyone help me with this analysis please?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Well, the poem is clearly written in a very sarcastic tone that expresses the massive anger of the speaker at the way that bombs have become "smart." The poem is built around a play on the word smart, as the speaker ironically uses it to mean more intelligent, which is why the poem opens by saying that there are now "No more dumb bombs." One aspect of this poem that you might like to comment upon is the way that the intelligence of such bombs, which enables them "to round corners / wait at red lights," is contrasted with their "dumb" targets. The intelligence of the bombs means that they can:

enter shelters


dumb women

dumb children

dumb men

dumb elders


and burn to

steaming tar

their totally



One notable aspect of this poem is the way that there are so few words on each line, especially towards the end. Note how this emphasises the anger of the speaker as these "smart bombs" kill a whole series of individuals who are "dumb" and convert their "unintelligent / flesh" to "steaming tar." The message of the poem is clear: how on earth can we call such horrific technology "intelligent" when it has such a devastating impact on men, women and children? And, above all, what does it say about us that we call them "smart bombs"? The poem strongly suggests that it is actually us who are "dumb" because of this.






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