Though Vietnam Plays and Wizard of the Crow are two remarkably disparate texts, they share the themes of political strife, corrosive rage, and the challenges facing peoples of the Global South in their burgeoning post-colonial existence. David Rabe's Vietnam Plays introduces us to two stories, The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel and Sticks and Bones. The publication of these two plays in tandem affords readers the opportunity to experience the grim horror and dark humor of war through The Basic Training's protagonist, Pavlo, and the painful disconnect and personal trauma of surviving war through Sticks and Bones's protagonist, David, a blind Vietnam War veteran. Rabe writes with a heightened realism, penning both plays before the Vietnam War ended and drawing upon his own experiences as a veteran. Stylistically, the whimsical, almost absurdist prose that Ngugi wa Thiong'o utilizes in Wizard of the Crow to bring to life the world of the fictional African nation the Free Republic of Aburiria contrasts starkly with Rabe's style. However, the interplay of Thiong'o's absurdist allegory and Rabe's fusion of realism and parody provides interesting intertextual connections, elucidating the idea that reality often feels absurd in the aftermath of colonialism, as countries and kinfolk struggle to claim their own identities and independence.
In the first chapter of Wizard of the Crow, readers are introduced to a Aburirian proverb: "Ire is more corrosive than fire." The phrase transfers both meaning and merit into the opening scene of The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, in which a rage-filled conversation abruptly ends when a grenade is lobbed into the bar the characters occupy. The ire, rage, and strife of war—whether the war is in full swing or allegedly over—continues to seep into the bones, the blood, the relationships, and the rule of peoples for generations after. In this, we find the point of intertextual relationship between these two texts.