I'm not really sure whether this chapter had real importance in terms to the story or not, but either way the author certainly spent enough time describing the character Mary Anne. At first, she fit the stereotype of a woman in the 1960's quite well. She was proper and ladylike and easy to get along with.
"This was Vietnam, after all, and Mary Anne Bell was an attractive girl. Too wide in the shoulders, maybe, but she had terrific legs, a bubbly personality, a happy smile. The men genuinely liked her." (page 90)
Her clothing is also mentioned from time to time. She wore appropriate things for the time period such as blouses, skirts, sweaters, and culottes (which from context clues I'm guessing are shoes). She seemed like a pleasant character that might add some substance to the novel. As the chapter progressed; however, her character took quite a different turn. In the beginning the changes were small and I figured they were simply ways that she was adjusting to life in Vietnam.
"No cosmetics, no fingernail filing. She stopped wearing jewelry, cut her hair short and wrapped it in a dark green bandanna. Hygiene became a matter of small consequence." (page94)
That didn't sound so bad I thought. Not really. So she had made a few adjustments, no big deal. She'd go back to normal when she went back to the States. Unfortunately, events did not pan out exactly as I thought. Mary Anne became distant from the others and almost savage-like. She lost her former sense of herself and became an entirely different person. Truthfully, she couldn't have strayed any further from her former stereotype than she had.
"In part it was her eyes: utterly flat and indifferent. There was no emotion in her stare, no sense of the person behind it. But the grotesque part, he said, was her jewelry. At the girl's throat was a necklace of human tongues. Elongated and narrow, like pieces of blackened leather, the tongues were threaded along a length of copper wire, one tongue overlapping the next, the tips curled upward as if caught in a final shrill syllable." (page 106)
Maybe it's just me, but I personally find that disgusting. The fact that she is wearing human organs like prized possessions has to be a sign that she went off the deep end. Maybe Mark Fossie was lucky for finding out how demented his girlfriend was before he made the mistake of marrying her.