Revelation through Experience in Heart of Darkness, Going After Cacciato, and The Things They Carri

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Revelation through Experience in Heart of Darkness, Going After Cacciato, and The Things They Carried Foreign lands seemingly possessed by evil spirits as well as evil men, ammunition stockpiles, expendable extremities and splintered, non-expendable limbs carpeting the smoking husks of burnt-out villages, the intoxicating colors of burning napalm, and courage mixed with cowardice in the face of extreme peril. These are just a few examples of the spell-binding images presented in the novels read in the class entitled The Literature of War at Wabash College. These images and their accompanying stories do far more than fill the mind with fantastic ideas of war and heroism; they force the reader into uncomfortable situations…show more content…
During battle and wartime, in the experience stage, all of the frivolous emotions and concerns are melted away as this newly realized proximity to death brings a new appreciation for life and the truly important things. The things that truly matter to a man may vary and some of them, such as love, fear, comfort, and compassion, are intangible. And yet it is these intangible things and not direct orders from a commander that drive a man onward during war. Unfortunately, war not only reveals the innermost truths of a man’s character, it also destroys his capacity for leading a normal life upon his return home. Once a man has confronted his personal demons and come to some sort of understanding regarding his place in the universe and the inevitability of death, he has an extremely difficult time acclimating himself to civilian life once the war ends. Of all the novels read in War Literature, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and two Tim O’Brien novels: Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried, best illustrate the inability of a soldier to deal with his original settings after returning from war. By studying the actions of Marlow, Paul Berlin, and Tim O’Brien (both the author and the character) after they leave the war, it is clear that they each use their own unique war experiences to deal with

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