Critical Analysis Tom Lux. Example of an A analysis essay.
Tom Lux’s “The People of the Other Village” was written shortly after the first Iraq war and gained popularity after the 9/11 attacks. The poem’s voice comes from an indifferent narrator whose unnamed village is at war with the people of an “other” unnamed village. The exact reason that started this war is unclear; however, as the war escalates, the battle tactics evolve and are depicted in an alternating line structure that mimics the back and forth nature of reciprocal violence. Ultimately, the author presents a poem that comments on human nature without committing to a judgment of that nature through subject matter, structure, and narrative voice. The poem’s title bleeds directly into the first line, “The People of the Other Village / hate the people of this village” (Lux 1) Thus begins the alternating structure of the poem. Already, the only difference shown between these two villages is the word “other” and the word “this.” By being vague, the author shows humans as basically the same except for the differences that the narrator applies to the two villages. The location and ethnicity of both sets of villagers is also purposefully ambiguous so that this commentary on human nature can apply to all peoples in almost any time period. The reason for the war is never stated. The narrator implies that they attacked the other village first because of the oppression and violence he believes the other village “would” enact upon his people. Throughout the entire poem, the lines alternate between what the speaker’s village does to the other village and what the other village does back. For example, “They peel the larynx from one of our brothers’ throats. / We devein one of their sisters” (Lux 9-10) Even the refrain of the poem, “We do this, they do that,” is repeated and inverted as the author states, “They do this, we do that” (Lux 8,15, and 23). This alternating structure helps impart the...
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