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How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in contemporary literature, film and popular song? - page 6

Keywords: gcse history coursework question one 1 vietnam war portrayed literature film song

By exploiit on 19/06/2010

Level: GCSE Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)

Page Number: 6 of 6   pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6

This poem is a prime example of the negative effects the war can have, not only on the soldiers who served in Vietnam, but also the ordinary people in America. This heightens the tragedy that surrounds decision by the American government to install troops in Vietnam, furthering opposition.

Although I was not asked to explore opposition to the Vietnam war portrayed through art, I did come across one particular image which I believe was very effective. The underground Bristol street artist, Banksy, is well established for his quick wit and in your-face presentations. He makes use of massive wall displays (i.e. stencils) to reach his audience as his attention-grabbing approach is very difficult to disregard. The particular display I studied was called ‘Vietnam/America’ and featured Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald seemingly assisting a young Vietnamese girl. On closer inspection it is easy to realize the deeper meaning. Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse are both major American symbols representing corporatocracy. Banksy lines them beside Kim Phuc, a Vietnamese Napalm victim, in order to contrast the truth with America’s ‘truth’. Whilst Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse seem like innocent childhood characters they in fact represent manipulation and dishonest profiteering. Banksy uses them to sugar coat the actual situation – it would appear they are helping but they are doing nothing of the sort. Although friendly faces, both these characters are the fiends behind her pain. This is how America initially received support for the war – they used propaganda and the dream of a better society for Vietnam however, they corrupted the country with their mindless violence.

Many different artists take different approaches to expressing their views, each of these are useful and effective to an audience. The use of these particular platforms allows the artists to get their messages to the masses therefore getting more and more people to understand and agree with their points of view. The artists I have studied have used a variety of techniques to showcase their opposition including satirizing the situation, creating sympathy, reversing propaganda and even sharing experiences.

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How was opposition to the Vietnam War portrayed in contemporary literature, film and popular song?- page 6