Naming of Parts: A Soldier’s F

Many soldiers understand that their particular occupation means that a time could come when they would have to give up their life for their country.The thoughts of one particular soldier are provided in the poem, ;Naming of Parts; by Henry Reed.As the instructor lectures his soldiers about the different parts of a weapon — a tool of war created to cause death, the listening soldier envisions elements of nature that are life giving.Reed uses structure, connotation, and imagery to compare the parts of a weapon with elements of nature in order to show how one particular soldier thinks about life and living things when confronted with the thought of his own mortality.
The title, ;Naming of Parts;, has special significance in that the parts of a weapon are not entirely what the poem is about.Although the instructor tells the students they will be learning the names of different parts of their rifle, the soldier is half-heartedly listening as he daydreams about ;Japonica/[which] Glistens like coral (4,5).The flower;s name has a very musical sound to it, the assonance of each syllable is soft and offers a very feminine connotation.Because Japonica have red petals, and because they are shimmering like coral, it implies that the young man is actually thinking of a woman;s full lips.Since the flower is cultivated in Japan, he could be fantasizing about a Japanese woman, which is supported in line 28 when he mentions the ;almond-blossom;, the ;almond; being the shape of the woman;s eyes.Additionally, the soldier says that the flowers shine ;in all the neighboring gardens; (5), which further supports the idea that he is thinking of a woman, since women do not receive military training in the same area as men.
A woman;s image comes immediately to mind in the second stanza, combined with the idea that not only is the young recruit untrained as a soldier…


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