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Michael Macks poem Small Pain in My Chest is an anti-war poem.

The poem evokes the pity of


war in our minds as we go through it. In this post I am going to discuss this poem as an anti-war
poem, analysing it from various angles. But If you havent already read the line by line
explanation of this poem, I recommend reading that first.
The title, beginning and ending of Small Pain in My Chest contain the anti-war elements.
The title of the poem Small Pain in My Chest is used ironically. The expression small pain is
repeatedly used in the poem only to make sure we get the irony and get that well. As we go
through the poem, it gets clearer that the pain was not at all a small one, rather it was a fatal
injury that the soldier boy succumbed to. So the poet might be hinting that the injury of the
soldier boy is not a great injury compared to the destruction war can cause.

But this doesnt end here. In the very last line the narrator says, the large one in my heart
against the small one in his chest. This is one of the most glorious lines I have ever read. This
final line explains something different about why the soldiers pain is tagged as small. The
narrator is greatly shocked on seeing the ill-effects of war. He has seen the soldier boy, helped
him responding to his call, talked to him, felt his concerns and seen him yield to the injury. So he
cannot but feel the evils of war by heart. And he was so much overwhelmed that his pain seemed
greater than the physical pain of the soldier boy. The poet couldnt do better to indicate the
destructive power of war.

Moreover, the poem begins with The soldier boy was sitting calmly, making it clear what
the poem is all about. We instantly realize there is something about battle. The calmness of the
soldier-boy also brings a sense of gloom and silence. At the very first line the poet has
successfully created the atmosphere to deliver his message. And that message is very clear: War
cannot bring merriment; it always has a sad ending.

The pity of war is felt all over the poem.


Throughout the poem the soldier boy has a conversation with the narrator. And, that is the
technique the poet uses to reveal the true self of a soldier boy. He has no enmity towards anyone.
The boy doesnt want to die so young. He has an affectionate mother and a caring wife like
anyone else. So he doesnt deserve this fate only for fulfilling the ill-desires of some
warmongers. He even counts himself luckier than the rest to have survived so long, as others
have already died.

But the real pity is aroused when the soldier boy expresses his concern regarding what his
mother and wife would think if they saw him in such helpless condition. The boy thought
himself to be a man full of vim and zest. It seems silly to him that war has made him so calm
and made him sit there with the small pain in his chest. He really feels the futility and
uselessness of war. And so feel we. The poet Michael Mack has deliberately and cleverly made
us feel bad for the innocent soldier boy. That is how he wants to convey his anti-war message
through his poem Small Pain in My Chest.

SMALL PAIN IN MY CHEST

Small Pain in My Chest


by Michael Mack was read over to 5000 people, at the funeral of the first Black Hawk
helicopter pilot, who was shot down in Iraq. It is also read at the Vietnam Veterans meetings.
The poem shows the pain suffered by the soldiers in a war. It also portrays the human spirits in
times of war and crisis. War has lasting and deep effects on those who serve in the war. This is
the theme of the poem in which the poet has clearly brought out the physical, mental and
psychological agony that the soldiers go through in the battlefield. Physical Agony: Soldiers
have to endure appalling conditions on the battlefield. They have to remain without food and
water for so many days. Surrounded by the enemy forces, their lives are always at risk. In the
process, they get fatigued, wounded but they have no one to help them to. Therefore, they
remain on the battlefield undergoing immense physical agony from the physical injuries that
they hadsuffered. The soldiers kill each other, though they may not want to. Circumstances
force them to endsomeones life. This act brings them sorrow. Surrounded by dead bodies,
amidst the pain and fear,

they are haunted by seclusion. The soldiers often feel like reaching out to their families and to
share their grief with them. Often they think about their families as to how would they react
when they would see their terrible conditions. The soldier in the poem feels ashamed that what
his mother and wife would think of him to know that he gave u

p just because of a small pain in the chest. The soldiers on the battlefield suffer psychological
agony, usually referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorders. This disorder is caused by the
trauma of war. The horrible sight of the battlefield haunts them and their memories for a long
time. They often recall and re-experience the distressing events of the battlefield. War stirs
their emotion, affect their body and impact their state of mind. Therefore, besides physical
injuries, the stressful emotions that they go through result in great mental agony.

The poem records briefly the narrators experience when he meets a dyingsoldier. The young
soldier was smiling at its best to hide his pain and asks the narrator if he could help him. He says
he needs a sip of water as he had been fighting all night without rest and is having a small pain
in his chest. The narrator finds a large reddish-

brown stain of blood on the soldiers shirt. The stain is a mixture of his

blood and the local dirt. The soldier consoles the narrator that his wound is not a big one and
he considers himself luckier than his fellow soldiers as they have already died whereas he had
survived with only a small pain in his chest. The soldier then describes his experience of the
battle which took place at night. He says that he along with a troop of two hundred soldiers was
climbing a hill and as they reached the top, there was an explosion and then he felt this small
pain in his chest. Finally,the soldier dies from the pain in his chest. The narrator feels that
because of the heavy pain from such fatal wounds, the soldier was losing his senses and was
seeing darkness all around him. The narrator cannot recall what happened after that. The
narrator had put his arms around the dead soldier and as he pulled him towards himself, the
narrator could feel their wounds pressed against each other-

the large one in the narrators heart against the small one in the soldiers chest. The

narrator was deeply agonized by the suffering of the soldier who finally dies from the small pain
in his chest. GOD LIVES IN THE PANCH

The focal theme of the story is upholding justice . The entire story shows the life of folks, their

sufferings, their disputes, their faith in God, and their loyalty and justice.Jumman Sheik and
Algu Chowdhari are childhood friends. Even though they are not close relatives, or belong to
the same religion they are inseparable friends. It is evident that relatives are our destiny, but
friends are our

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