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How Can You Not Shout, Now That the Whispering Is Done? Accounts of the Enemy in US, Hmong, and Vietnamese Soldiers’ Literary Reflections on the War

Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN 55812, USA
Humanities 2019, 8(4), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8040172
Received: 21 June 2019 / Revised: 12 October 2019 / Accepted: 22 October 2019 / Published: 1 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue War and Literature: Commiserating with the Enemy)
As typified in the Christmas Truce, soldiers commiserate as they see themselves in the enemy and experience empathy. Commiseration is the first step in breaking down the rhetorical construction of enemyship that acts upon soldiers and which prevents reconciliation and healing. This essay proceeds in three steps. We will identify first the diverse forms of enemyship held by the American, by the North Vietnamese, and by the Hmong soldiers, reading political discourse, poetry, and fiction to uncover the rhetorical constructions of the enemy. We will talk about both an American account and a North Vietnamese account of commiseration, when a soldier looks at the enemy with compassion rooted in identification. Commiseration is fleeting; reconciliation and healing must follow, and so finally, we will look at some of the moments of reconciliation, after the war, in which Vietnamese, Hmong and American soldiers (and their children and grandchildren) find healing. View Full-Text
Keywords: enemyship; rhetoric; reconciliation; commiseration; Vietnam/Vietnamese; Hmong; war enemyship; rhetoric; reconciliation; commiseration; Vietnam/Vietnamese; Hmong; war
MDPI and ACS Style

Beard, D. How Can You Not Shout, Now That the Whispering Is Done? Accounts of the Enemy in US, Hmong, and Vietnamese Soldiers’ Literary Reflections on the War. Humanities 2019, 8, 172.

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