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While I Was Gone a War Began Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 17 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.
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War

The theme of war is obvious in this poem since the word "war" is in its title. First the narrator hears the news of the war, and then she describes her reaction. She names countries where violence is threatening to destroy the people entirely, and she gives examples of the universality of hatred and power struggles. After speculating about the value of literature in a war-torn world, she also points out how people have become so used to wars that they have perhaps accepted the violence as normal and turned their attention to more trivial matters.

Fiction versus Reality

Perhaps it is a human defense mechanism to confuse fiction and reality. When the narrator of this poem hears the news about a war starting, she is not sure that the story she is hearing is real. "It seems I saw this story / in a Hollywood movie, / or on...

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This section contains 695 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the While I Was Gone a War Began Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
While I Was Gone a War Began from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.