Friday, August 13, 2010


I liked how O'Brien took the time to explain his motivation for writing the chapter "Speaking of Courage". I feel like it gave some justice to Norman Bowker and explained to some extent why he had ended his own life. I'm sure there are many people who will never understand his actions, but then again I don't think it is necessary for them to have to understand. Every single occurrence affects another human being differently in life. No two people ever react exactly the same to the challenges they are given to face. For Norman, I just think that the war was too much for him. After it was over he couldn't go back to being the same person and he couldn't shake himself of his worst memories. It is unfortunate that he never got to see the revised version of his story in its' full glory before he died. I really think that he would have liked it. A part that I especially liked of the account was how the author wrapped it up at the end. I thought it was considerate of him to do in Bowker's memory.
"In the interests of truth, however, I want to make it clear that Norman Bowker was in no way responsible for what happened to Kiowa. Norman did not experience a failure of nerve that night. He did not freeze up or lose the Silver Star for valor. That part of the story is my own." (page 154)
Where O'Brien inserted clips of Norman's own letter to him, I was reminded of the use of essay. An essay in which Norman was discussing his thoughts on the topic of Vietnam.
"What you should do, Tim, is write a story about a guy who feels like he got zapped over in that shithole. A guy who can't get his act together and just drives around town all day and can't think of any damn place to go and doesn't know how to get there anyway. This guy want to talk about it, but he can't..." (page 151)

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