- In 1968, American soldiers went on a "search and destroy" mission in the southern Vietnamese town of My Lai, killing about 500 people.
- The brutality of the the mission along with the come up, led to a large sense of anti-war sentiment.
- The poet potrays the emotion and the bitterness of the soldiers
- The poem reflects the gruesomeness of war,death of civilians and how it changes the people that go through it drasically
Massacre victims of My Lai-Coloured images
"It was at My Lai or Sonmy or something, it was this afternoon...We had these orders, we had all night to think about it"
- Little moral thought that the soldiers give towards their actions.
- Use of the word "or", there is no care to where the gruesome crimes occur, just another place to kill other human beings a
- Focus is purely on the action and not the place.
"It was to burn and kill, then there'd be nothing standing women, children, cows, cats..."
- Soldiers that were given strict and explicit orders to destroy any sign of their enemy with word choice such as "burn" and "kill".
- Leave nothing along the way even the innocent, no matter what.
- Groups they killed degrades the status of the people as it groups them along with animals.
- This takes away from the importance of the human life massacred.
'As soon as we hopped the chopped, we started shooting. I remember...as we was coming up on upon one area in Pinkville a man with gun...-running-this lady...Lieutenant Laguerre said, "shoot her"
- Army slang creates a closer to relation to the character speaking of the incident being part of the army and a platoon.
- The line "we started shooting" is referring to 'guns blazing' showing that they went in full force and never stopped to think about their actions, showing that their only purpose was kill everything in their path.
- The language error made by the poet with "as we was" brings the real aspect of the piece, as the story sounds as if it is told by a normal person, with a lack of education and this adds realism to the poem.
- The person who tells the soldiers to shoot is an American and at the My lai Massacre there was no enemy fire.
I said, "You shoot her, I don't want to shoot no lady"
- This shows that the male soldiers has been bred to kill men and when women are presented in a situation, it becomes uncomfortable.
- Men are more affected by death of women and children.
A women being held at gun point.
"She has one foot in the door...when I turn her there was a one month old baby, I thought was her gun. It kind of cracked me up."
- He ends up shooting the woman, and turns her over to see that he mistook her baby for a gun.
- He isn't shocked at the age of the child, it almost doesn't matter.
- His moral standing on life is dead, he has seen it all, even war on children and woman.
- War has changed him and switched his morals, a twisted man.