Redgum – I was only 19, Notes
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This is a very powerful song about what all Vietnam veterans went through in the Vietnam war and all the emotions and experiences they have gone through This song has so many language techniques and powerful lines It emphasizes the fact that composer of this song was only 19 and he was so young and frightened to go to war The power illustrated in this song is War
The use of repetition is used almost after ever verse, “God help me, I was only nineteen” the effect this gives on the listener is it makes you feel what the composer is conveying you to feel. You feel the pain and the grieving the veterans went through and it makes you realize that some men were so young to go out and experience such things that no human being should go through. The use of a rhetorical question is used, “And can you tell me, doctor, why can I still not sleep?” This gives the effect of pity. You pity and feel bad for what he went through. It is stating that he cannot sleep because he was so frightened and stressed about whether he was going to live or die. He asked this question to a doctor because all he wants is professional advice and reassurance but in war he doesn’t have any. A lot of imagery is used to make the audience really imagine what the composer has been through “A four week operation when each step could mean your last one with two legs.
It was a war within yourself” this is very powerful couple lines of the song. This is stating that he was on a 4-week mission through mines and each step was taken with precaution, as there were mines everywhere, if you took the wrong step you could have had your legs blown to pieces. It was a war between yourself because you would always be fighting against yourself to either take a step or not. “Frankie kicked a mine they day that mankind kicked the moon, God help me, he was going home in June.” This is stating that the composer’s mate Frankie has stepped on a mine and he has passed away. It makes the audience feel the sadness and mourning for Frankie as he was going home soon and he could have lived to see his friends and family again. “And the Anzac legends didn’t mention the mud, blood and tears, and the stories my father has told me didn’t seem quite real” This is stating that the stories the Anzacs told seemed so prestigious and legendary but they didn’t mention the loss and impact it had on them in negative way. The composer never really thought the stories his father told him seemed quite real but know he has woken up to the fact that it is real and it is happening right now.
This song is about a man that is sent to the Vietnam War at the age of 19. He talks about the feelings he had whilst there and the constant thought of whether he was going to survive. He talks about the experiences he went through. The song outlines the power war has. War is a terrible thing that still happens today, it tears families and friends apart. War is one of the most powerful global issues; war outlines who rules another and who has more power. People start war for so many reasons, some are acceptable but some aren’t. War has the power to control people and make them instruct people to murder so many others just so they can be the most power fullest or own another’s land. This song makes you give respect to the Australian veterans who have fought for out country because of war.