Essay about The Sorrow of War

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What is important to anyone curious is the thought that goes into the title of the book, or translation in this case: The Sorrow of War. It is short and effective, if a little plain, as it exposes the main theme of the book right away while inviting the reader to see how and why. It says what it says: war is bad. War will do nothing but take away everything one knows and loves. War shows the worthless sacrifices of the noble and the virtuous. War forcibly warps human beings into inhuman beasts capable of heinous deeds much like any serial killer. Lucky survivors are themselves cursed as they have to adapt to a society zombified by the infected wounds of past bloodshed. What was curious was the alternative translation: The Understanding of …show more content…
More importantly was the awareness of this loss, particularly in the form of love. It presents itself through different illusions. Kien philosophizes about this loss: “War was also a war without romance. He couldn’t avoid the drain on his soul, the ruin his young men were escaping from as they set about squeezing the last remaining drops of love from their nightly adventures.” In fact, he goes as far as to think that any type of happiness is “…a bad omen, as though happiness must necessarily call down its own form of retribution in war” (31). In other words, any moments of peace and calm must be supplemented by tragic loss. After all, this is what keeps on happening to Kien and his many companions, particularly the sub-plot in which he is ever so close to reaching Phuong but something happens which whisks her out of his grasp yet again.
Kien would go as far as to establish vague connections with Phuong that pervades his tortured memories. “He had conveniently ignored the wild, romantic escapades of the three girls with their three lovers from his platoon because they reminded him of his romance with Phuong” (139). From the rosa canina to his fevered dreams, living vicariously through other romances, mistaking others for his true love, or comparing other women to her. But no matter how he dreams and forgets himself, he will always be choked by the elusive red string that beckons him to chase an elusive improbability. Kien and Phuong
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