By Edwin Starr War, huh, yeah What is it good for Absolutely nothing Uh-huh War, huh, yeah What is it good for Absolutely nothing Say it again, y'all War, huh, good God What is it good for Absolutely nothing Listen to me Ohhh, war, I despise Because it means destruction Of innocent lives War means tears To thousands of mothers eyes When their sons go to fight And lose their lives I said, war, huh Good God, y'all What is it good for Absolutely nothing Say it again War, whoa, Lord What is it good for Absolutely nothing Listen to me War, it ain't nothing But a heartbreaker War, friend only to the undertaker Ooooh, war It's an enemy to all mankind The point of war blows my mind War has caused unrest Within the younger generation Induction then destruction Who wants to die Aaaaah, war-huh Good God y'all What is it good for Absolutely nothing Say it, say it, say it War, huh What is it good for Absolutely nothing Listen to me War, huh, yeah What is it good for Absolutely nothing Uh-huh War, huh, yeah What is it good for Absolutely nothing Say it again y'all War, huh, good God What is it good for Absolutely nothing Listen to me War, it ain't nothing but a heartbreaker War, it's got one friend That's the undertaker Ooooh, war, has shattered Many a young mans dreams Made him disabled, bitter and mean Life is much to short and precious To spend fighting wars these days War can't give life It can only take it away Ooooh, war, huh Good God y'all What is it good for Absolutely nothing Say it again War, whoa, Lord What is it good for Absolutely nothing Listen to me War, it ain't nothing but a heartbreaker War, friend only to the undertaker Peace, love and understanding Tell me, is there no place for them today They say we must fight to keep our freedom But Lord knows there's got to be a better way Ooooooh, war, huh Good God y'all What is it good for You tell me Say it, say it, say it, say it War, huh Good God y'all What is it good for Stand up and shout it Nothing Edwin Starr He was born Charles Hatcher on January 21, 1942 in Nashville, Tennessee. He was the cousin of soul music performer Roger Hatcher, but grew up in a non-musical household. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and was transferred to Europe. While in Europe, he performed in numerous clubs between Berlin and Amsterdam, honing the style that would eventually bring him fame when he returned to the United States. When Edwin returned to the U.S., he was invited to join Bill Doggett’s band as a featured vocalist. Shortly after, he formed a new band called the Future Tones. His most popular song was “War”, which he first sang in 1968. Edwin Starr died of a heart attack in England in 2003. (Walker) Back Vietnam War The Vietnam War was a conflict that took place in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The main purpose of this war was stopping the spread of communism. Most U.S. citizens did not like this war at all. There were many anti-war protests against the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. It was a very unpopular war and many people thought it was useless. (“The Vietnam War”) Back Theme “Absolutely nothing” is a good theme for this song because the main idea is about anti-war. In the song, Edwin Starr asks the question, what is war good for? He goes on to say that it is good for absolutely nothing. When he says this, he is showing the anti-war theme that was popular during his time. Back Destruction There were over 2.5 million men and women that served in the Vietnam War. Almost 60,000 of these soldiers were killed. More than 800,000 continue to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders which have resulted in many suicides, incarcerations, and in alcohol and drug abuse. As you can see, when Edwin Starr was talking about destruction, he wasn’t joking. This goes along with the theme of anti-war and how war can lead to bad things. (Laurent) Back Innocent Lives In the Vietnam War, there was an incident called the My Lai Massacre. It was a plan by an angry group soldiers in the U.S. army to go into a small Vietnamese village and kill everyone in it. Most of these people were unarmed citizens including women, children, and the elderly. The song says that in war, there are innocent people killed, and the My Lai Massacre is a good example of that. (“The My Lai Massacre”) Back Rhyme Scheme A rhyme scheme is a regular pattern of rhyme, one that is consistent throughout the extent of a song or poem. In this particular verse, the rhyme scheme is AABCDC, which means that the first line rhymes with the second line, and the fourth line rhymes with the last line. The third and fifth lines do no rhyme with anything. Back Undertaker An undertaker is another name for a funeral director. In this song, it says that war only has one friend, and that’s the undertaker. This is just saying that the only thing war does is take away lives. This is also talking more about the anti- war theme and how there is really no point to war. Back Metaphor A metaphor is a comparison between two things where one thing is said to be another. In this song, Edwin Starr says that war is “an enemy to all mankind.” When he says this, he means that because of all the killing, war could potentially end human life. By comparing war to an enemy of mankind, Starr reminds us of how anti-war protests were a big part of the Vietnam War. Back Repetition Repetition is a technique in which a sound, word, phrase, or line is repeated for effect or emphasis. In this verse of the song, the phrase “say it” is repeated three times. The artist is just indicating how important the previous lines are. This is also emphasizing the importance of war being good for nothing. (“A Glossary of Terms”) Back Allegory Allegory is a symbolic representation. It is when an object, person, or action in a narrative is equated with a meaning outside the narrative itself. In this case, “heartbreaker” can be a representation of how the war had broken many people’s hearts. It can be literally breaking soldiers’ hearts when they die in battle, or if someone back at home has a broken heart because of someone they lost in the war. Back Disabled, bitter, and mean In this song, it says that the war has shattered many of young men’s dreams, and that that it made them disabled, bitter, and mean. This is a good explanation of how the war changed people’s lives. After the war, soldiers came back to the U.S. very different from when they left. They had many physical and also psychological difficulties that resulted from being in war. Life was not the same for the returning soldiers, which made many people angry that we even fought in the Vietnam War. (Romo, Zastrow, and Miller) Back Peace, love, and understanding These three words are the main ideas for this song. They are examples of what the anti-war movement was all about. Because of all the anti-war protests and ideas, the U.S. was taken out of Vietnam. Songs like this were a major part of the anti- war movement and they helped get the U.S. out of Vietnam.(“The United States”) Back Citations Walker, Bruce. "Edwin Starr Biography." Musician Guide. Net Industries, n.d. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608004259/ Edwin-Starr.html>. "The Vietnam War." The History Place. The History Place, 1999. Web. 31 May 2010. <http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/vietnam/>. Laurent, Pauline. "Vietnam: An Overview." Grief Denied: A Vietnam Widow's Story. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 May 2010. <http://www.griefdenied.com/ overview.html>. "The My Lai Massacre." American Experience. PBS, 29 Mar. 2005. Web. 31 May 2010. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/trenches/my_lai.html>. Literary Devices. Online Learning Centre, Saskatoon Public Schools, 2008. Web. 31 May 2010. <http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/de/resources/litdevices/ index.html>. "A Glossary of Terms for Literary Analysis." Wallkill Central School District. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 May 2010. <http://www.wallkillcsd.k12.ny.us/ glt.htm>. Citations Romo, Barry, Pete Zastrow, and Joe Miller. "History of the U.S. War in Vietnam." Vietnam Veterans Against the War. N.p., 2002. Web. 31 May 2010. <http://www.vvaw.org/about/warhistory.php>. "The United States Antiwar Movement and the Vietnam War." Study World. Oakwood Publishing Company, n.d. Web. 31 May 2010. <http://www.studyworld.com/ Antiwar_Movement.htm>. Vietnam War Helicopters. N.d. JPG file. Edwin Starr. N.d. GIF file. Vietnam War Protest. N.d. JPG file. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. N.d. JPG file. Anti War Movement. N.d. JPG file. Stop War. N.d. JPG file.
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