The Vietnam War Was A Gruesome War That Left Many Soldiers

1766 WordsMay 4, 20178 Pages
The Vietnam War was a gruesome war that left many soldiers reeling in constant psychological turmoil not only in the years of the war, but in the years following the war as well. The terrifying events that occurred in Vietnam forced the soldiers to become different people with only one thing on their mind, survival. In Tim O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried, it is seen how the war negatively impacted the soldiers of the Alpha Company and changed their personalities severely. One of the main changes that is seen in the men is the loss of innocence that accompanies them as they move through the war. In times of war, boundaries are crossed and morals are thrown out the windows. The dangerous situations that the men are thrust into cause…show more content…
At first, as Kiley interacts with the water buffalo, he seems friendly towards the animal, offering it food and petting it. His interaction with the animal soon changes however as he begins to physically assault and shoot the young water buffalo. In the passage, O’Brien describes that Kiley went “automatic”, (O’Brien 75) harming the buffalo in every possible way before breaking down. I believe that this situation shows a loss of innocence because under normal circumstances, a regular person would not have killed the animal for no reason. After the buffalo has died, Mitchell Saunders says, “‘Well that’s Nam. Garden of Evil. Over here, man, every sin’s real fresh and original” (O’Brien 75). This quote reflects Kiley’s loss of innocence because he is committing a sin that is horrific and unnecessary in nature all due to the death of a friend. It also shows that Kiley had no sense of control in this situation because hatred overcame him due to the death of Lemon. Scholar Rosalind Poppleton-Pritchard also believes that the slaying of the buffalo was done in part of Kiley’s personal agony. “The baby buffalo and Rat are united in their dumb anguish: Rat has no way of articulating the pain he feels through language; it is an animal instinct, a 'response to signal, ' and he maims the creature in an almost suicidal attempt to end his own suffering” (Poppleton-Pritchard 4). This quote from Poppleton-Pritchard shows that Kiley’s suffering in the war was
Open Document