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 …show more content…
With the rise of agriculture came the rise of populations, which gave rise to surplus population, wealth, poverty, power structures and politics, and finally armies and warfare. However, the repetition of this number emphasizes that humankind’s violence has been and forever shall be a reality of the human condition. It also reiterates that, like the villagers, there is actually no difference between the numeric and written meaning behind the number; they are, in fact, the same. Like the time period and the violence, the subject matter mimics the structure and evolves throughout the poem.
At first, the violence is simple and is not elegant; people are stapling and nailing objects to others heads. Then there is an advance in warfare. Animal training is made evident by the training of rats and birds to poison and bomb the enemy. This indicates that warfare is evolving for this village. After all, advanced civilizations in history have used animals in war. B. F Skinner, the psychologist, trained birds, homing pigeons, to drop bombs on troops in WW I, and the Romans, Celts, and many others have used dogs in war for thousands of years. Then, after every refrain of, “We do this, they do that,” another evolution takes place. We now see the villagers using attacks and torture techniques that require some level of medical knowledge and influence. For example, “deveining” requires a civilization to at least know of