The Impact of Civil War and Conflict on Identity
Themes & Core Questions:
- How do people define citizenship or
nationality in the times of government crisis? To what
degree does political instability affect the common person?
- What are the economic impacts (both
positive and negative) of domestic conflict or civil war
on the average citizen? What are some of the survival
strategies used to deal with these impacts?
- How do the five themes of geography
(location, place, human & environmental interaction,
movement, and region formation) shape the decisions made
by citizens during conflict or civil war?
- How do conflicts or civil wars affect religious institutions
and the religious beliefs of the average man or woman?
Overview: A student designed the video for this lesson
from the pictures of a Vietnam War veteran. They are arranged
to music to illustrate the environmental impact of the Vietnam
War. It should be used to emphasize sections from “Resuscitation
of the Dead Earth” and used to initiate a discussion on
the impact of war on the environment. It is ironic that
the setting of Dinh Mai-Ly’s Letter is also in Binh Hoa.
The poems attached can also be used to reemphasize the impact
of war on the common person as well.
Time Required: 1 class periods or 90 minutes.
Suggested Grade Levels: Grades 8 –12
Interdisciplinary Applications: Social Studies and Literature
NJ Core Content Standards: 6.2, 6.4, 6.6, 6.8, 6.9
- Explain how civil war impacts the common person.
- Analyze the effects of conflict on identity using PEERS.
- Synthesize the understanding of the impact of civil war
or conflict on the common person by developing empathy
for the various decisions they have to make.
- Students should read “Resuscitation of the Dead Earth”
- Begin lesson the next day with the video clip on the Environmental
Destruction of Vietnam.
- Have students select passages from “Resuscitation…” that
emphasize the destruction to the land and discuss.
- If the quality of the discussion warrants an essay assignment,
have students respond to the question:
Should the United States have been responsible for assisting
Vietnam in cleaning up the environmental effects of the
chemical defoliants used during the war according to the
1925 Geneva Convention or any other chemical warfare ban?
- OR afterwards have students read each of the 5 poems to
review the impact of the Vietnam War on the common person
and do the Literary Analysis for Homework.
- Video Clip “The Environmental Destruction of Vietnam” by Jon Turner
with pictures contributed by Marge and Frank Trestka, 1995
- Chung, Ly Qui, Between Two Fires, “Resuscitation of the Dead Earth”,
by Chu Thao, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1970. This is where the short
story on Binh Hoa came from. It is filled with interesting
first person stories from the Vietnamese perspective about
- Larson, Wendy Wilder and Tran Thi Nga, Shallow Graves: Two Women
and Vietnam, Random House, New York, 1986. This is where the poems came from,
but there are many more in this book that traces the lives of an American
and a Vietnamese woman and how their destinies cross.
- The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The
Chemical Weapons Convention, A guided tour of The Convention
on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling
and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. Available:
9 July 2001 http://www.opcw.org/guide.htm.
Assessment: Literary Analysis Worksheet Essay on the Destruction of Vietnam (Optional)