Everything you need to understand or teach While I Was Gone a War Began by Ana Castillo.
In the first line, the narrator states that while she "was gone a war began," but she does not divulge in this first stanza where she has been or where the war is. She notes that she is in Rome and that she has been seeking translations of daily news reports from her friends. The narrator feels as if she has heard the story before, perhaps in a movie or an advertisement. The scenes of war on television must appear like movies or commercials; they have been seen before so many times, but this time they are for real and the speaker is in disbelief.
The narrator questions whether she has seen these images before in an underground cartoon, or perhaps in an old John Wayne film. John Wayne stands for the ideal American defender. Castillo may have chosen the phrase "sinister sheikh" because it is a stereotypical... View more of the While I Was Gone a War Began Summary