Forgot your password?  
Related Topics

Introduction & Overview of While I Was Gone a War Began by Ana Castillo

This Study Guide consists of approximately 23 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of While I Was Gone a War Began.
This section contains 262 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our While I Was Gone a War Began Study Guide

While I Was Gone a War Began Summary & Study Guide Description

While I Was Gone a War Began Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reading on While I Was Gone a War Began by Ana Castillo.

Introduction

On August 7, 1998, Al Qaeda operatives under the direction of Osama Bin Laden bombed two United States embassies in Africa. The truck bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 213 people, injured approximately 4,000, and severely damaged the embassy. The other bombing, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, killed twelve people and injured eighty-five others. Upon hearing about these bombings, Ana Castillo wrote the poem "While I Was Gone a War Began," and she notes in I Ask the Impossible (2001), the collection in which the poem appears, that the poem was originally written in 1998 in Chicago. The poem is thus a reaction to a specific (albeit unnamed within the poem) incident, but it addresses the violent state of the world in general.

Although Al Qaeda terrorist attacks against the United States have been numerous, the embassy bombings were the most notable until the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. The title of Castillo's poem, therefore, seems prophetic. The war against America had indeed begun, but the majority of the public did not realize it until the New York City and Washington, DC attacks on that date.

"While I Was Gone a War Began" is set in a vineyard and in Rome, Italy. The message of the poem seems to be that everyone is affected by world events, and everyone must do his part to improve the world in whatever way his talents enable him. The poem also questions the effectiveness of literature in combating social injustice and expresses frustration with the public's acceptance of violence as a norm in everyday life.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 262 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our While I Was Gone a War Began Study Guide
Copyrights
While I Was Gone a War Began from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook