I loved both its darkness and humor as it tells the tale of a group of soldiers in Vietnam going after a fellow soldier who has decided to just start walking towards Paris. Later that day, higher in the mountains, Kiley shot a Viet Cong water buffalo repeatedly—though the animal was destroyed and bleeding, it remained alive. Ted Lavender: Ted was the first solider to die, he was young and terrified. Two months pass, and the sister never writes back. O'Brien moves from employing the literary technique of describing the soldiers' physical artifacts to introducing the novel's primary characters. Cross asks if O'Brien remembers the picture, and O'Brien says he thought Cross had burned it. Summary An unnamed narrator describes in third person the thoughts and actions of Jimmy Cross, the lieutenant of an Army unit on active combat duty in the Vietnam War.
O'Brien hopes the story will speak to his failure to protect Kiowa and to Bowker's courage. Azar keeps asking why she is dancing. He never demonstrates leadership, but instead is granted it by decree. Rosie Hoile 11th Grade Most, if not all of them, were drafted unwillingly. In one, she's playing volleyball, and he's almost sure that she's a virgin these facts are not related. Despite knowing that the men will complain, Cross is adamant that things will change.
He tells her about how, on that night, he wished he had taken her upstairs and tied her up so that he could touch her knee all night long. They reminisce, drinking coffee and looking at old photographs of their Company. Mitchell Sanders carries condoms, brass knuckles, and the unit's radio. Or is the fiction in some other way warped or untrue? He is a pacifist who repeatedly attempts to rationalize his participation in the war by concluding the his obligation to his family and commitment to his country were far greater influences than his own political beliefs. Though the minutiae that O'Brien includes — for example the weight of a weapon, the weight of a radio, the weight of a grenade in ounces — seems superfluous, it is supposed to be accretive in his readers' imaginations so that they can begin to feel the physical weight of the burdens of war, as well as, eventually, the psychological and emotional burdens so much as it is possible for a non-witness to war to perceive. O'Brien introduces readers to the novel's primary characters by describing the articles that the soldiers carry. His training forced him to be concerned more with marching in line, following preset maps, and keeping guns clean — following pre-decided standard operating procedures — rather than adapting to his environment and the attitude of his men.
Norman Bowker carries a diary. They carry sentimental items to remind them of home, food,. Still, in the morning, they hear the noises. At first it represents a connection with Martha for Cross , helping to comfort him as he struggles with the war. One night, the men hear voices and noises that sound like a cocktail party. Henry Dobbins carries his girlfriend's stockings around his neck. Later the men find out that Strunk has died, which seems to relieve Jensen of a big burden.
GradeSaver, 3 April 2009 Web. Cross's participation in battle and his interior, imagined fantasies that give him refuge. Young men go to war and come out with countless stories and scars from their adventures. Cross feels guilty for what happened to Lavender; he loved Martha more than his men, and look what happened. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross blames himself for Ted Lavender's death because he loves Martha so much that he's been preoccupied. Kiowa keeps describing the way Lavender fell when he died.
Bowker has convinced himself he would have won the Silver Star if he had pulled Kiowa out, and that Kiowa would still be alive. His best friend is dead and his ex-girlfriend has married someone else, so he has no one to talk to about why he failed to get a Silver Star medal for courage. Cross' guilt hasn't dissolved with the years—the self-blame will always haunt him. The rest of the men sit down to wait. Ted frequently battled his anxiety with sedatives and drugs. She had never married, had trained as a nurse, and gone on Lutheran missions to the Third World. Women such as Martha affect the men of the Alpha Company by providing them with emotional ties that anchor these soldiers to reality as they make.
We learn that the soldiers carry lots of things, from guns to fear to expectations. Get your mind out of the gutter! Character Development In this collection of short stories,O'Brien avoids the use of chronological order. The nature of the Vietnam War, however, makes this kind of leadership impossible because the steps to achieve the objective of the war are undefined and obfuscated. When the dentist touched him, Lemon fainted. They were asked to leave their families and their homes, their girls or their kids, and they were told to die and kill for reasons unclear. American forces were forced to withdraw from Khe Sahn.
All focus on the Alpha Company and the fate of its soldiers after they return home to America. Curt Lemon dies guess everyone who dies has a color-related name? They also carry their grief, terror, love, and longing, with poise and dignity. He was split between the instinct to run, and the instinct to do what everyone expected: go to war. Rat Kiley is a medic and carries medical supplies. Even though these men had things they had to carry, they elected to carry more.