The parental/societal violence and anger that is often attendant with homosexual love in America meets with the experience of pure ecstasy in the body (“Homewrecker”). The tenderness associated with both the speaker’s grandparents and parents in Vietnam makes it all the more heartbreaking that they were displaced from the country, but the speaker himself never forgets his own roots in violent events. Ocean Vuong creates and poses alternate universes within these poems. Order our Night Sky With Exit Wounds Study Guide, teaching or studying Night Sky With Exit Wounds. Regarding the former, the speaker struggles to reconcile his distance from his estranged father, as well as the abuse he knows his mother has suffered at his hands, with the closeness he feels to his father. GradeSaver "Night Sky with Exit Wounds Themes". The Japanese have a word for it: yugen, when you have so little you have to imagine it.". This shift in sentiments is one of the broader impacts of the war in America that Vuong examines, but he also looks at the impact Americans had in Vietnam. In poems like “Seventh Circle of Earth,” Vuong and his speaker suggest that being gay is antithetical to the constructed cultural ideal of America, and that to be gay in America is necessarily to be erased at every moment in one’s life. He references Agent Orange, the herbicide sprayed over Vietnam by the United States military during the Vietnam War, and which destroyed thousands of square miles of forest, and caused serious health issues for... Get Night Sky With Exit Wounds from Amazon.com. This, however, is not all: Night Sky with Exit Wounds is not just focused on honestly depicting the experience of being gay, but being gay in America. Copyright © 1999 - 2020 GradeSaver LLC. Rather, our attention is directed to all those who are victimized in its name but who paradoxically look to it for relief and safety. everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Night Sky With Exit Wounds. In poems like “Seventh Circle of Earth,” Vuong and his speaker suggest that being gay is antithetical to the constructed cultural ideal of America, and that to be gay in America is necessarily to be erased at every moment in one’s life. Regarding the relationship between his father and mother, the speaker primarily focuses on how loving and physically passionate they were with one another, despite his knowledge that their relationship eventually fell apart and became more and more abusive. Considering the complexity and ambiguity of this past is one thing that gets the speaker thinking about his own ability to act violently and tenderly in the present. He remarks on their physical similarity, among other things (“Telemachus”), but he also seems to respect and understand his father as a passionate and kind lover with a troubled past that leads him to lash out (“My Father Writes from Prison”). Night Sky with Exit Wounds is an invigorating, razor-sharp poetry collection that meditates with both candor and artistry on themes of war, nationality, sexuality, and violence. The experience of immigration is also deeply important to Vuong and his speaker. Like Homer, I felt I’d better make it up. / Thus I exist. Separately, however, the last prose line of the poem suggests that the speaker sees another important aspect of tackling the immigrant experience in writing: “Everyone can forget / us—as long as you remember.” The speaker knows how arduous the experience of immigration was for his parents, and he knows that it led to a less-than-glamorous place (e.g., his father’s abuses, his mother working at a nail salon à la “The Gift”), but he knows that it was for him and his well-being. Further, in "Of Thee I Sing," Jackie Kennedy is able to rationalize the death of her husband only in the context or service of her love for her country and her love of god. Vuong, born in Vietnam and raised in the US, threads details of his own family history into his broader narrative verse that centers on Vietnamese identity. Thus my mother exists. His own body as a recipient of pain and abuse fuels his capacity to receive and deliver both harm and tenderness to others with his body (“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous”). resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. Though it might seem odd for a child to fixate on his parents’ sex lives, doing so renders his father as a more sympathetic character and also allows the conflict between his parents to be incorporated into his broader exploration of sex and the body. Night Sky with Exit Wounds study guide contains a biography of Ocean Vuong, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Wherever one looks in the collection, they see along with the speaker that the body is central in unifying all these disparate and opposite experiences simply because it is the physical material that underpins life, which itself is so curious and strange so as to connect things that otherwise would seem totally unrelated. Related but perhaps more significant, however, is the speaker’s engagement with mythology in poems like “Telemachus” that links the speaker’s father to a mythic tradition. And if so, what does that say about the kinds of stories we are conditioned to read and accept? In "Self-Portrait as Exit Wounds," Vuong describes the anti-Vietnamese sentiments that cropped up in American culture during the Vietnam, and he uses the example of an audience cheering for John Wayne after he shoots a Vietnamese man in a film about the war. Despite the fact that even he himself faces discrimination in America on account of his race and sexuality, the speaker is able to help his parents ensure that their migration was not in vain by reenacting and making known their struggle, the immigrant struggle that is so often invisible or erased. / Yikes.” The fact that, even amidst a backdrop of war and destruction, there is tenderness and love that is so personal and significant for the speaker is a central theme that runs throughout the collection insofar as it ties in with the collection’s larger project of exploring duality. The sacred and the profane meet in the body as the devotional act of prayer is commingled with devotional acts of sex and physical passion (“Devotion”). Related to the body’s capacity to unify opposing forces is the speaker’s treatment of gay love in America. As the speaker looks backward to his past in an effort to understand how he can originate from such a violent place, he also attempts to reconcile his understandings of the past with who he is in the present. It's a fierce, provocative, political, and sensual collection that I found both … Thus no bombs = no family = no me. It recounts the speaker's experiences with a lover and posits the idea that their love was forbidden and had to necessarily result in death and destruction. Another important theme that runs throughout the collection comes in the form of mythology—specifically, mythology’s encounters with the everyday or mundane. This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - In an interview with The Guardian’s Claire Armitstead, Vuong himself addressed this engagement nicely: "Western mythology is so charged with the father […] Personally, I’m always asking who’s my father. The poem "Homewrecker" is the fourteenth poem in Ocean Vuong's Night Sky with Exit Wounds, and it is the second poem of the book's second section. In "Self-Portrait as Exit Wounds," Vuong describes the anti-Vietnamese sentiments that cropped up in American culture during the Vietnam, and he uses the example of an audience cheering for John Wayne after he shoots a Vietnamese man in a film about the war. He stands at the feet of American poetry and unties the masters’ shoelaces. The Vietnam War is rightly considered by many, including the speaker of this collection, to have been a time of unimaginable destruction, death, and violence. In one poem, the body is fragile, but in the next, it is a testament to the stubborn truth of simply living despite hardship. Of course, this is only one … Americans came to view the Vietnamese as an enemy, and viewed them with distrust if not outright hatred.