"A Doctors Journal Entry for August 6th 1945" by Vikram Seth is an anti-war poem. How does it make an impact on the conscience of humanity?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the most specific incidents that Seth's poem displays is the instantly brutal nature of war.  Seth's poem cuts through the ambiguity often associated with war and shows it for the savage exercise it actually is. Details such as "and I Dislodged, detachedly, a piece of glass, All the time wondering what had come to pass. Where was my wife?" and "My breath was short, but bit by bit my strength Seemed to revive, and I got up at length. I was still naked, but I felt no shame" bring forth the terrible nature of war. These details instantly force the reader to acknowledge how horrible war actually is. They do not negotiate war's inhumanity. It degrades the individual in the most stunning of manners. Removing shards of glass and debris from one's self, struggling to piece together's one's consciousness in an instant, as well as struggling to function in the most basic way are parts of the war experience that make an impact on the conscience of humanity.  

War is negotiated and created to be an ambiguous reality.  Those in the position of power justify its need using different metrics.  However, the brutal and dehumanizing condition of war cannot be denied. No matter what standard one uses, war is hell. Seth reminds the reader of this and the use of relevant incidents and details from the poem help to reinforce this lesson to the reader. The Doctor's journal entry is a painful reminder that war creates only pain and suffering.

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