Redgum I Was Only 19 Essay About Myself

“I was only 19” is a protest song by Redgum which reflects a physical journey of a young boy who is going off to the Vietnam War. When reading the song lyrics it can also be seen as a ballad or a retrospect because the way it has been composed. Throughout the entirety of the song there are many themes like the Vietnam War and Culture which is shown through mention of multiple traditional towns like “Nui Dat” and “Vung Tau”, there is also reference to agent orange which was used during the Vietnam war. Other themes include Australian history, anti-war protest and returned soldiers or veterans.

For the duration of “I was only 19” there are many poetic devices which include repetition, colloquialism, rhetorical questions and metaphors. Repetition is used throughout the song to reinforce that the boy was only 19 and yet he was still being exposed to the horrors and brutality of war. Colloquialism is also used through mention of “VB”, “drinking tinnies” and “til the morphine came and killed the bloody row”, this language allows readers to have a greater connection with the song as it is more relaxed and free flowing. Rhetorical questions are used in this song to get the listeners more involved and thinking about the meaning of the song, an example of a rhetorical questions used in the song is ‘and can you tell me doctor, why i still can’t get to sleep?’. the final technique is metaphors an example is ‘it was a war within yourself’ this is suggesting that the feelings and emotions of the soldiers were going through was just as chaotic and horrific as a war however there wasn’t actually a literal war in your head it was just figurative language.

I Was Only Nineteen was released by Australian folk-rock band Redgum in 1983. It is one of the best selling Australian singles of all time, remaining in that country’s top 40 charts for some four months. I Was Only Nineteen was written by Redgum vocalist John Schumann, who drew on the wartime experiences of his brother in law. I Was Only Nineteen is told in the first person as a series of reminiscences and flashbacks. It opens with a young Australian soldier completing basic training at Puckapunyal and specialist training in Queensland, before being deployed to Vietnam. He later experiences the horrors of combat, the loss of friends in battle, then psychological trauma after returning to civilian life. Royalties from I Was Only Nineteen are donated to Australia’s Vietnam Veterans Association.

Mum and Dad and Denny saw the passing-out parade at Puckapunyal
It was a long march from cadets.
The sixth battalion was the next to tour, and it was me who drew the card.
We did Canungra, Shoalwater before we left.

And Townsville lined the footpaths as we marched down to the quay
This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean.
And there’s me in my slouch hat with my SLR and greens.
God help me, I was only nineteen.

From Vung Tau, riding Chinooks, to the dust at Nui Dat
I’d been in and out of choppers now for months.
But we made our tents a home, VB and pinups on the lockers
And an Asian orange sunset through the scrub.

And can you tell me, doctor, why I stil can’t get to sleep?
And night-time’s just a jungle dark and a barking M16?
And what’s this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only ninteen.

A four week operation when each step could mean your last one on two legs
It was a war within yourself.
But you wouldn’t let your mates down til they had you dusted off
So you closed your eyes and thought about something else.

Then someone yelled out “Contact!” and the bloke behind me swore
We hooked in there for hours, then a God lmighty roar
Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon,
God help me, he was going home in June.

I can still see Frankie, drinking tinnies in the Grand Hotel
On a thirty-six hour rec leave in Vung Tau
And I can still hear Frankie, lying screaming in the jungle
Til the morphine came and killed the bloody row.

And the ANZAC legends didn’t mention mud and blood and tears
And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real.
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn’t even feel
God help me, I was only nineteen.

And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can’t get to sleep?
And why the Channel Seven chopper chills me to my feet?
And what’s this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only nineteen.

Content on this page is © Alpha History 2016. Content created by Alpha History may not be copied, republished or redistributed without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use.

Categories: 1

0 Replies to “Redgum I Was Only 19 Essay About Myself”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *