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Naming of Parts Summary & Analysis
by Henry Reed

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"Naming of Parts" by Henry Reed is the first in a six-poem sequence entitled Lessons of the War. In the poem, a military official addresses a group of soldiers and catalogs the different parts of the Enfield rifle, the bolt-action rifle the British military used during World War II. The language used during this lesson is strictly technical, but each stanza concludes with an observation of the surrounding world's beauty—observations that some readers attribute to a second speaker, perhaps a daydreaming soldier. Either way, this seemingly out-of-place appreciation of beauty offers a striking contrast to the cold, unemotional world of wartime military service.

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