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Facing It Summary & Analysis
by Yusef Komunyakaa

Facing It Summary & Analysis
by Yusef Komunyakaa

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Yusef Komunyakaa published "Facing It" in his 1988 collection Dien Cai Dau. Komunyakaa was inspired to write the poem following a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial some 14 years after his time as a soldier in the Vietnam War. The poem deals with the speaker's struggle to confront traumatic wartime memories while looking at his reflection in the memorial's shiny surface and staring at the names of fallen soldiers. Couched within this is a meditation on race, as the speaker (who is Black) feels as if his face blends into the memorial's dark granite—a metaphor for American society's unwillingness to fully acknowledge the sacrifice Black soldiers made for their country at a time when the U.S. still deprived them of so many fundamental rights.

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