Bao Ninh's Sorrow of War Essay

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Bao Ninh's Sorrow of War

When we think of the Vietnam War, we think of all the hell and torture that American soldiers went through with little regard to the Vietnamese and the hardships they endured. Reading the Sorrow of War gave me a clear understanding of the Vietnamese people and the suffering that the war caused them. The Sorrow of War is unique and powerful in the sense that it is written by a Vietnam army veteran and gives the perspective of the war from a Vietnamese soldier. It is one of the few novels that has given the Vietnamese people a voice. In this beautiful novel, Bao Ninh manages to put a face on the other side of the conflict and humanize a people who until now have been viewed as faceless “gooks”. When it comes to
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However, the Vietnamese lost two million men, and their culture, society, landscape, and way of life were torn apart by the war. The fact remains that the Vietnamese people lost more lives and went through more hell than the Americans yet their side of the story has hardly been told.

The Sorrow of War is a powerful novel in the sense that it is one of the few novels written by a Vietnamese soldier that manages to portray the Vietnamese soldier as an actual person and not just a faceless image in the background “Worse still, they have always been portrayed as faceless “gooks”, “Charlie”, or “VC”. For many years it appeared as if the Vietnamese participants in the conflict had no identity”(Ha). The Sorrow of War is one of the few novels that successfully paints a picture of the other side of the conflict and gives light to the Vietnamese culture. The characters in the story are real or become real by the end of the story. “In most American made movies and novels the Vietnamese soldier is faceless and without depth. They are seen as just pawns of a communist machine”(Betke). Bao Ninh does an incredible job of giving us a new view of the war through his semi-autobiographical novel that reflects his own experience of the Vietnam War.

It seems that Bao Ninh’s purpose in writing this story was not only to represent the pain and struggles of war but the makeup and morality of a culture and a society gone wrong. “What makes
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