Monday, October 27, 2014

Vietnam Connections Then and Now. From Mike Lohre


For your homework, actively (that means take some notes!) read and listen to these links.

Read and view at least two historical and current links.

Write a response to the one you feel most strongly about in the Comments section of this post, and use one direct quote from the source in your response.

HIstorical Links and connections:

 "Back to My Lai" 60 Minutes

"The Cost of Campaigns" NY Times video links campaign abuses then and now

"Paying Respects, Pentagon Revives War Over Truth, Then and Now" NY Times

Current Links and connections:

 "Kurdish Women Fight on Front Lines Against ISIS"  Wall Street Journal

"The Horror Before the Beheadings" New York Times

"A Woman, A Kurd, and an Optimist" New York Times

 "Who, What and Where is ISIL? Explaining the Islamic State"  Al Jazeera America

Female fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) sit down for lunch in the group’s mountain stronghold of Qandil. Unlike the peshmerga in socially conservative Iraqi Kurdistan, the PKK includes female fighters.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Exploration 4 - Haley ClevelandBull

Part One:

  One of the things that stood out to me when researching the Tiananmen Square Massacre is the tremendous strength of the people.  When reading more about the students and the massacre I discovered that both students and other demonstrators were able to occupy the Tiananmen Square for seven weeks before the government decided to shut down the protests.  Also, as I looked through the photographs taken of the Tiananmen Square Massacre I noticed that in some of the photos you see the devastation, fear, distress and sadness, but in others you see the strength, love, hope, and incredible courage of the people of Beijing.  To me, the demonstration of the students and protestors was like a lawyer in a courtroom.  Though the lawyer may not have won in court that particular day, the influential statement that was made within the courtroom will be remembered forever.  In the case of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, though the students and other protestors were shut down and in a sense ‘lost that initial fight’, their actions speak words.  The message of these incredibly strong people, who banded together for a common cause, was so impactful that it was understood across the entire world.  It was so incredibly powerful that its message will live on, just as it has lived on throughout history, and will certainly continue to be reverberated in future generations to come.


Part Two:
This image depicts the devastation and loss of those who courageously demonstrated protests; and whose bodies are lost and tangled among the broken and abandoned bikes.


This is an image showing a student receiving medical attention during the fourth day of the hunger strike at Tiananmen Square.  His face shows pain, but yet within this picture you also see courage and strength.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Exploration 5 - Lorenzo Palma

1. The story that has meant the most to me so far is probably, "The Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong". Because, it has shown the kind of deep desire that any person carries. The way Mary Anne gets attracted to the idea of war is the same way that my grandpa was. He fought in WW2 and loved it. When I was a kid, his war stories weren't morose, they were exciting. He would talk about the war like it was in his glory days. He talked about the gore, the killing, almost like a little kid talking about Call of Duty. In the book, "...She shows up with a suitcase and one of those plastic cosmetic bags. Comes right out to the boonies. I swear to God man, she's got on Culottes. White culottes and this sexy pink sweater." (pg. 86) That was the image of innocence. She was just a high school sweetheart in the beginning. My grandpa, at first, was afraid of war. He said that the first time he was given a gun, he was so anxious he vomited. But then he said, "I got over it."

2. I would be more related to Jimmy Cross. He has a trouble handling the responsibility bestowed upon him, being the leader of the team. Whenever I am given a big responsibility, I would never be sure about my ability to handle that responsibility. Also, the way the guilt that he felt towards Ted Lavender's death when he gets distracted by the letters from Martha being that his own need towards an escape from the stressful environment of the war would be the same way that I'd react. If I was in an extremely stressful environment such as that, I'd be in constant search of a distraction to get my mind away from that situation.

3. The one convention that's really getting my attention would be his way of describing the imagery in the book. Every time O'Brien describes the setting at specific moments in time, I always can vividly experience that moment from feeling the dirt, smelling the air, hearing all the sounds of war, seeing all the things through O'Brien's eyes.

4. "But the guys don't say zip. They just look at him for a while, sort of funny like, sort of amazed, and the whole war is right there in that stare. It says everything you can't ever say. It says, man, you got wax in your ears. It says, poor bastard, you'll never know - wrong frequency - you don't even want to hear this. Then they salute the fucker and walk away because certain stories you don't ever tell." (pg. 72) That passage really stood out to me because, as it said in the passage, one stare, that is emitted by the soldiers can say everything you'd experience in the war.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Exploration 5: Shelby Wade

1. The story that has meant the most to me so far would be "On the Rainy River" because this chapter shows how decision making can be at times. O'Brien has to decide whether he was going to run away to Canada or go fight in the war. Although this decision is much more difficult than anything I have been faced with, it still shows how much your conscience has to do with the choices you make. It also shows how sometimes we can't always follow what our conscience is telling us to do. "I survived, but it's not a happy ending. I was a coward. I went to war." p. 58

2. I honestly do not connect with any of the characters. I feel like I have never been through this much emotional and physical distress in my entire lifetime. These young men are put through situations I pray to never have to face. The way they act is because of the war they are fighting in.

3. A convention of narrative that I would like to point out is O'Brien's use of sensory details. During  some parts of this story, I feel as if I am there sitting right next the O'Brien seeing and hearing the things around him.

4."Though it's odd, you're never more alive than when you're almost dead. Your recognize what's valuable. Freshly, as if for the first time, you love what's best in yourself and in the world, all that might be lost." p. 78

This passage impacted me the most because of its honesty. You could be alive one second and dead the next, and you never realize what means the most to you until you're at that point in your life where you could lose everything around you. No, I have never come to this point in my life, but these young men faced this feeling every moment while they were in the war. They could lose their lives at any given moment and not be able to do a damn thing to change it. This passage for me really brought out the true intensity of war. It's so delicate and yet so terrifying.

Exploration 5

The story that meant the most to me in The Things They Carried, was the first story "The Things They Carried". I like this story because its sets a scene of the conditions the foot solders were in. I also like this story because the author uses the physical material that the solders carry as a medium to also show the emotional weight that the solders carry ,as well.
Jimmy Cross is the character that I like and connect to the most. This is mostly because Cross is the leader of his platoon, however he is not sure how to lead. He is always distracted by his love interest and does not care about the war, however he does care about the well-being of his platoon. Cross tends to take the blame for the death of his men and feels disappointed in his leadership.
I would like to point out the structure of the first chapter, I like how the author shows the mental and emotional burden the soldiers endure through the physical objects the men carry.
 "It happened to all of them.Afterward, when the firing ended, they would blink and peek up.They  would ......It was the burden of being alive." (page 18) I like this passage because of the details the author includes. It puts me in their shoes and gives the feel of a firefight.

Exploration 5-Hailey Jackson

1.       The story that has meant the most so far is the one about Jimmy Cross and Martha. I really like this because well for one, I like romantic stories but also because I feel like if I was him, I’d do something similar. I would deal with the stress in the same way. It shows me just how the war affected him and made him a little crazy and then when he decides to let her go so he could put his men first: “He felt Shame. He hated himself. He had loved Martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war.”
2.       I think I can connect with Tim O’brien the most. If I was drafted, I would feel just as devastated as he did and I would try and run away, but due to embarrassment, come back. Also, how Tim was affected when he killed that guy. I would never be able to let it go and I would go into a weird shock.  I think O’brien at the time was an average kid with a lot of optimism about the world and cared lot. I think he was a gentle guy who always listened to everyone.
3.       With the way Tim writes, he jumps around or changes topic quickly. In one chapter he will go back and forth from two different subjects/topic. Also the way he writes, he’ll have a long paragraph and then it’ll be interrupted by a dramatic/important statement. Sometimes it’s the most important sentence of the whole thing and I really like that.
4.       Like I explained in number 3 I really like how Tim will tell a story and then interrupt it with a powerful statement. One I really liked was on page 107 when he writes, “Mark Fossie stood rigid.
“Do something,” he whispered. “I can’t just let her go like that.”
Rat listened for a time, then shook his head.

“Man, you must be deaf. She’s already gone.” 

DMZ- Luke Vest

The DMZ, or De-Militarized Zone, is a line dividing North and South Vietnam. It is a result of the First Indochina War in 1954. Shortly after World War II, the French entered in for the French Indochina War, commonly known as the First Indochina War or, in as known in Vietnam, the Anti-French Resistance War. This ended with a line of almost no contact between he North and South. However, later on in the Vietman War, or the Second Indochina War, made the line an important battleground between the Communist North and the Democtatic South. It is important to reiderate that this war and the US interest in it has to do with the Co-existing Cold War with Communist Russia, who was helping back North Vietnam in this conflict.

this picture shows Vietnam, and the DMZ.

Today, the DMZ stilll exists, but mostly as a tourist attraction. As you may know from history, the DMZ was a line defended by the US in the Vietnam War. As we left quickly, we left some of our things there. Tourisits along the DMZ today can look at numerous tanks and artilary left behind from that area by US forces.

Exploration 5

So far, the story that has meant the most to me is "the Things the Carried" This meant alot to me because it is where you can connect well with the other characters. The guys in Vietnam had many hardships, and they were in a corner often. "Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to." (p. 24). This quote shows how hard it was to be there, and why they did what they did.
Tim tells the story in a way that you think you could have been there with him. He is very intense in his observations, but he is also real with you, especially on how he feels about other people, and the things they did. I would like to talk about how Tim talks about his experinces after they happened, and how they influenced them.
Finally, the passage that has really struck me was,“But the thing about remembering is that you don't forget.” This hit me because, as simple as it is, it is also so real, and that Tim really makes you understand what it means to remember things as he did, and that they shape you from that point on.

Exploration 5: Lilyan Eldadah

The story that has meant the most to me so far in The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien was the chapter “On the Rainy River” because he expressed himself thoroughly and really got through to the reader. At one point of the book when O'Brien is talking about being at the boarder to Canada he says, “Would you do it? Would you jump? Would you feel pity for yourself? Would you think about your family and your childhood and your dreams and all you're leaving behind? Would it hurt? Would it feel like dying? Would you cry? Would you cry as I did?” (O’Brien 54). This part of the chapter really helped me connect to the story and made me feel like I was part of the book, and I really liked it. In the chapter he repeatedly said that he has never told this story before and how he was really embarrassed about the story, so that made it more emotional and helped the reader understand/see the differences and similarities between young Tim O'Brien and old Tim O’Brien. I also really liked the character Elroy Berdahl because he was very persistent and self-controlled.

Like I said in the previous paragraph, the character I connected with the best so far was Elroy Berdahl, the old man in charge on the Tip Top Lounge from the chapter “On the Rainy River” because he helped and cared for young Tim O'Brien and helped him from making a terrible mistake, by only saying a few words.  Berdahl was described as “self-controlled” which I could connect to because I would rather keep to myself instead of judging someone else or being unkind. I always try to help people when they need assistance, which also connected me with Berdahl because even though O'Brien didn't need help Berdahl stuck by his side, mentally, and helped figure out what to do by saying so little.

Something I took away from my active reading about a specific convention of narrative, which I would like to point out, was O'Brien’s use of sensory details. Once we began looking for sensory details in our active reading, I felt like in every page there were examples of all times of sensory details; sight, sound, touch, and smell. For example: “The afternoon was sunny and cold. A stiff breeze came in from the north, and I remember how the little fourteen-foot boat made sharp rocking motions as we pushed off from the dock. The current was fast. All around us, there was a vastness to the world, and unpeopled rawness, just the trees and the sky and the water reaching out toward nowhere. The air had the brittle scent of October” (O’Brien, 52). Just in this one quote there are sight, sound, and scent details, which is amazing how he could contribute all those sensory details and make the quote flow so smoothly.

In the chapter “On the Rainy River”, Tim O'Brien says:
“Courage, I seemed to think, comes to us in finite quantities, like an inheritance, and by being frugal and stashing it away and letting it earn interest, we steadily increase our moral capital in preparation for that day when the account must be drawn down. It was a comforting theory. It dispensed with all those bothersome little acts of daily courage; it offered hope and grace to the repetitive coward; it justified the past while amortizing the future” (O’Brien 38).

This quote really struck me and I really liked it. I like they way he explains what he thought courage was because it helped me see how he understood and practiced courage. This quote was emotional and well written.

Exploration 5 - Haley ClevelandBull

1.    The story that meant the most to me so far is the story of “The Man I Killed”.  The reason this story meant the most to me is because it shows that humanity still exists – even in war.  An example from the story “The Man I Killed” is when Tim is staring at the lifeless body of the young man he had just killed, and he couldn’t stop thinking about who the young man could have been, “He had been born, maybe, in 1946 in the village of My Khe near the central coastline of Quang Ngai Province, where his parents farmed, and where his family had lived for centuries… He was not a communist; he was a citizen and soldier… He was not a fighter; his health was poor, his body small and frail.  He liked books [and] he wanted someday to be a teacher of mathematics” (O’Brien, 119).  What I see in this story as I mentioned above, and shown throughout the entire chapter of “The Man I Killed”, is that throughout many wars men have dehumanized their enemy in order to make the killing easier, more justified, but here in this story it shows that though Tim is in war he is creating a story about a man he killed as if to say that he recognizes the value of the life that he took.

2.    In all honesty, I cannot say that I can relate to any of the characters in the novel, purely because I have never been in their specific situations within a brutal war.  I can only truly say that I find some of the men honorable; such as Tim for not dehumanizing the enemy, but instead carrying the burden and understanding the sadness of the life he took.

3.    One type of narrative convention found throughout the novel is the author’s use of metaphors.  An example of a metaphor that I found to be a powerful use of word comparison is, “ Vietnam had the effect of a powerful drug: that mix of unnamed terror and unnamed pleasure that comes as the needle slips in and you know you’re risking something” (O’Brien, 109).  This metaphor stood out to me because the author, in using this metaphor, is asking the reader to think about what war is really like, and offering an example that he would use to compare and explain what he felt war is truly like.

4.    One passage that I marked in my reading was towards the beginning of the book.  “It was a simple pebble, an ounce at most.  Smooth to the touch, it was a milky white color with flecks of orange and violet, oval-shaped, like a miniature egg… It was the separate but together quality that had inspired her to pick up the pebble… through hot days of early April, he carried the pebble in his mouth, turning it with his tongue, tasting sea salt and moisture” (O’Brien, 7-8).  I loved this quote because it evokes the powerful emotions of love, and sadness that Lieutenant Cross was carrying inside of himself, within the reader, and shows the sentimental and emotional value and complexity of an object as small and as simple as a pebble.

Exploration 5: Jorden Greene

The chapter that has meant the most to me so far would have to be Friends. I chose this one because it really materializes true friendship with the pact of ending a life if something terrible would happen. I might not go that far with my best friend but we have been through a lot. I feel like I connect with Dave Jensen the most because he was the field hygiene man and well if I was in the war that's what I'd be. I really enjoy how he talks about each individual character, telling how they carried their physical items and emotional baggage. "But it was not battle, it was just the endless march, village to village, without purpose, nothing won nothing lost. They marched for the sake of the march."  This passage really showed how the men felt about their tour in Vietnam. Just marching to march from village to village. Seeming like nothing was ever accomplished.

Exploration 5 Dillon Quigley

Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong was the most meaningful so far. It seems like such an impossible thing to happen, shipping his girlfriend out to him, her then getting caught up in the war. It seems so easy and possible but at the same time it seems like that could never happen. When Mary Anne firsts leaves the compound with the greenies the emotion Rat goes threw i just connect with. I think most people do, who hasn't had someone leave you. The feeling of emptiness he felt the amount of disappointment that he must have felt.Rat deals with emotions the way you think someone would.
A grenade sails out. One guy jumps on to it and takes the blast, but its a killer grenade and everybody dies anyway. Before they die, thought, one of the dead guys says, " The fuck you do that for?" and the jumper says, "Story of my life, man," and the other guy starts to smile but he's dead. That's a true story that never happened.
This little paragraph is true, even if this happened it would never be told as a story. No one would ever tell this story no matter what. It dies with the men there is no happy ending, it is war. some stories will never be heard because like this they will die with the men.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Exploration 5 Cody Compton

    1. The story that has meant those most to me, was On The Rainy River. This story meant the most to me because Tim had to make a very hard decision, to run away to Canada and be a coward, or stay and fight a war he didn't believe in and risk dying. He decided he would run and almost made it to the border where he spent six days with Elroy Berdahl, an owner of a fishing lodge on the Rainy River. During his time there he made his decision to stay and fight in the war, "The day was cloudy. I passed through towns with familiar names, through the pine forests and down to the prairie and then to Vietnam, where i was a solider, and then home again. I survived, but its not a happy ending. I was a coward. I went to the war."
     2. The character that I can relate most to is, Rat Kiley, I say this because like Rat i always try to make the best of a situation like when they were humping through mine field and he came up with a rhyme. I can also relate to him because, like Rat sometimes I have strange ways of copping with my feelings. I if I'm pissed off or hurt about something I sometimes go out and shoot stuff or blow things up with Pyrodex, however I never go as far as shooting a baby buffalo just to hurt it. Some of Rat's qualities are he's a captivated story teller and a good friend.
    3. A narrative that I would like to point out is, Tim's description of Elroy Berdahl. He not only describes Elroy's physical appearance but he also describes how Elroy made him feel by just looking at him. Tim rights that Elroy's gaze sliced him open and made him feel guilty.
    4.   The passage that I chose to write about comes from the chapter Friends, it is about Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk, who in the past chapter got in a fist fight and weren't considered "enemies", however they grew to be great friends. "In late August they made a pact that if one of them should ever get totally fucked up -- a wheelchair wound -- the other guy would automatically find a way to end it." This has impacted me because I couldn't imagine making a pact to kill my best friend under any circumstance. I couldn't bring myself to it. that just shows how much a war can impact you, how strong their friendship truly was. I imagine killing an enemy, another human being, would be hard enough to do let alone you're best friend.  

Exploration 5 - Andrew Balsiger

  1. The story On The Rainy River has meant the most so far because I don’t think I would want to go off to fight a war that did not make any sense to me. Tim O’brien talks about how the war doesn’t make any sense and says “Knowledge, of course, is always imperfect, but it seemed to me that when a nation goes to war it must have reasonable confidence in the justice and imperative of its cause. You can’t fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you can’t make them make them undead.” Overall he doesn’t believe the war should be fought and does not want to go off to an almost certain death for a mistake of a war. If I was in his situation it would be very hard to give up my life to go fight a war that didn’t make sense.

  1. I think the character I have connected with the best is Rat Kiley because he has had a hard time dealing with the stresses of war. I can only imagine how stressful a war environment is and I do not think I would be able to handle it very well. It really stood out to me when Rat lost his best friend Curt Lemon and took out his anger on the baby buffalo. I feel like if something that traumatic happened to in a war environment I would take out my anger on something else as well.

  1. I like how he characterizes the soldiers with their one greatest fear. He continuously talks about how the soldier was always carrying his greatest fear, which was the fear of embarrassment when he tells the story from before the war. It really shows how true that statement was, and how no matter how many physical items they carried they wouldn’t shy away because they were scared of the embarrassment. Most everyone who went to war went because they would be embarrassed not to go. This not only helps explain why they do what they do, but it also helps characterize the time period and how people thought during the war.

  1. In the story spin Tim talks about how bad things never stop happening during the war and then says “But the war wasn’t all that way. Like when Ted Lavender went too heavy on the tranquilizers. “How’s the war today?” somebody would say, and Ted Lavender would give a soft, spacey smile and say. “Mellow, man. We got ourselves a nice mellow war today.” I like how he included this paradox. It really shows that no matter how desperate their situation was in Vietnam they tried to make it better and make it seem like the war wasn’t actually that bad.

Exploration 5- Haley Miner

1.  The story that has meant the most to me so far was when Tim was talking about how he is always writing war stories or telling them and his daughter keeps telling him that he has an obsession. This means the most to me because my father was in the Vietnam War and I use to love hearing all of his stories about his time in Vietnam. My dad never forgot anything from that war even though he wished he did. Tim says "But the thing about remembering is that you don't forget." Tim could try to forget all the things that happened but he never will because he will always have that memory of Vietnam.
2.One person I connect with is Elroy Berdahl because he never had to ask Tim why he was there. It was like he knew already and he never brought it up. Elroy could tell it was best to just let things lie and not be spoken about. He is a kind old man that wants to help in anyway he can. It is almost like he has that third sense and can tell things about people even when they are not said. I like to believe that I can see the pain and hurt in people as well. I always do my best to help and that is what I see Elroy doing. I know that in my time of need I would like a random stranger to help me and not ask any questions. It was just the kind thing to do.
3.One thing I noticed is Tim always takes us back to the title when it comes to the things they carried. He does not have to directly say who carried what but you can tell by his writing that every person in this book has something physical and emotion that they carry with them. Tim does a good job at showing the characters personalities and troubles they have as the book goes on.
4."You can't fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you can't make them undead." This quote impacted me because it shows that he knew what he would have to deal with if he did not run away to Canada. He knew he did not want to kill other people when he believed America should not have been in this war. Tim did not want to make the mistake of taking another person's life and regret it later on. It impacts me because people make mistakes every day and think nothing of it, but when it comes to life or death they do not take the time to think about if they are doing the right thing or if they are just hurting other people.

Exploration 5 - Katie Wells

In the book The Things They Carried, the story that has meant the most to me so far would be "On the Rainy River". This story has meant the most to me so far because of how personal he gets with the readers, sharing a story of his life that he never has told anyone before. In this story you really get to know the younger Tim O'Brien and how he feels about being drafted into the war. Tim O'Brien explains how for more than 20 years he has had to live with a story where he almost ran away from home to go to Canada, so he wouldn't be taken to war. He introduces us to the man who helps him with his decision, Elroy Berdahl. Overall, this chapter shows the emotions of a young, scared Tim O'Brien.
The character that I feel I connect with the best so far in this book would be Jimmy Cross. I feel like I connect the best with him so far is because in the first story, it goes into detail of how he keeps to himself much of the time and that he carries the responsibility for his men. I can relate to that because I am someone that keeps to myself, but listens and loves to help others with their problems.
A specific convention of narrative that I want to point out is how Tim O'Brien not only points out what each character in the book are carrying and how much the things weigh, but he also goes on to tell the details of emotional baggage. O'Brien goes on to explain that Jimmy Cross as a first lieutenant and platoon leader carried, "A map, compass, code books, binoculars, and a .45-caliber pistol that weighed 2.9 pounds." He goes on to describe the letters that Cross carried from a girl named Martha that gave him emotional baggage as well. It goes to show that even if the things the men at war are carrying may be heavy, their emotional baggage inside may be even heavier.
"A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie." This impacted me to realize that war stories aren't all about the happy endings, that war stories are told from people who are fighting for our freedom, and that the book Tim O'Brien wrote is as good as the truth can get about what war is truly like.

Exploration 5 - Preston Bryan

1. The story that has been told in The Things They carry would have to be "how to tell a true war story". The way Tim O'Brien writes this chapter to me seams to discredit him but at the same time it give him the most credit. By saying that war stories are just the truth stretched out it helps to give him the credibility that he need to be able to effectively tell a true war story. Such as when he said that "when someone die you turn away then turn back again". This line tell you that what is being told is not the most accurate thing and from a humans point of view.

2. The character who I connect with the best so far in the story would have to be Rat Kiley. This is because he the type of guy who is will do what needs done . Rat Kiley's qualities include being a liar who the other men only will believe less then half of what he says.

3. In how the tell a true war story one of the parts I marked as a convention of narrative is where Rat Kiley is shooting the water buffalo because he is sad over the death of Curt Lemon. This shows how O'Brien is showing us the sense and emotion that the other character are going through as they experience the war.

4. A passage that I marked in the text is"The parts were just hanging there, so Dave Jensen and I were ordered to shinny up and peel him off. I remember the white bone of an arm. I remember pieces of skin and something wet and yellow that must've been the intestines. The gore was horrible, and stays with me. But what wakes me up twenty years later is Dave Jensen singing "Lemon Tree" as we threw down the parts." This impacted me because the thought of having to clean up someones body from a tree and then having someone sing while doing it would be really creepy and be something you could never forget.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Exploration 5: Brandon Kilgore

The story that has meant the most to me is “On the Rainy River”. I like this story because he has never told it before and we can believe that it is completely true. There’s something about him fighting himself internally over war that just makes it exciting and makes you drawn in and curious what choice he will make. I also really find it intriguing how Elroy just knows what he’s going through without asking, and essentially helps him make up his mind by giving him the opportunity to go to Canada, and without ever directly talking to him about the subject, and when he makes his decision Elroy disappears the next day.

I connect with Tim O’Brien the most, because I’m very much like him. When it comes to tough decisions for me, I take forever to weigh my options and I always think about the negatives of each which always makes the decision that much harder. Often I deal with guilt, because after I make some decision it turns out to not be the best one and I never let myself forget it, even though these decisions and problems are a grain of sand compared to O’Brien’s.

I like how he characterizes the men. He tells what they carried physically and emotionally and tells all the ins and outs of what they do and what have to deal with. But. He also, reminds everyone that most of them are only 19 or 20 year old young adults which he uses to explain some of the erratic behaviors of the men like Rat and the water buffalo. Most of them were nowhere near ready for what they were going to experience in Vietnam, because they were so young and many had other dreams that didn’t include the military. All of these things go into the characterization of them as young adults who aren’t expected to have the maturity to deal with war, which he uses indirectly to explain their actions.

“If you weren’t humping, you were waiting. I remember the monotony…..Even in the deep bush, where you could die any number of ways, the war was nakedly and aggressively boring” (pg. 32-33). There is more to this on page 33 put I don’t want to cite it all. This passage struck me because it uses such deep language to describe some basic feelings, and in one paragraph Tim pretty much explains the whole mood of the war. The way he writes it adds excitement to it, it doesn’t feel like another old boring war description, besides it’s Vietnam a war completely different from any other war.

Exploration 5

     The story that I have enjoyed the most, I would have to say is the one about the dentist.
This story has a number of funny parts, namely when Curt convinced the army dentist to pull out his perfectly good tooth for no good reason. I supose that he was trying to save face because he resisted the exam earlier, it just struck me as odd why he would do that.
     The charactor that i like the best so far was Elroy Berdahl. He was a very helpful charactor in the rainy river story because he seemed to know what Tim was doing, he was the wise old man figure that apears often in stories. But he went even further then just giving Tim a place to stay and a part time job, he actually took him out on the rainy river before he decided that what he was doign was "cowerdly".

     During my active reading I kept comming across all of the odd things that the soldiers were carying.  Tim O'Brien does a unique job of charactorizing the soldiers by the things they carried. This convention is at its best when you see how it makes the soldiers human. when you read about how they caried sunglasses, goodluck charms and even slippers its hard not to be able to identify with the charaters, and i like that in a book.

     "Lee Strunk and Dave Jenson got intoa fistfight. It was over something stupid- a missing knife- but even so the fight was viscious." This caught me because it shocked me. These people are supposed to be freinds and they get into a fistfight over something stupid, something meaningless. I like the way that Dave stole a pistol and broke his own nose with it as a sign of good faith. that was a good end to the story i think and it shows that they stayed freinds.

Grant Trainer - Exploration 5

The story that has meant the most to me so far would be the story about when Curt Lemons dies and then Rat shoots the Water Buffalo. This is because the brutality of it stuck with me. The whole concept of the chapter: how to tell a true war story. That if it made sense or was beliebable then it wasn't true. If it contained a lesson and everyone acting of courage then it wasn't true. This really stuck with me because that is what most people tend to think. It was gruesome what Rat did to the Buffalo but also sad for Rat himself. The stress of the war and the things that happened got to people. Not everyone handles it with amazing skill like it is portrayed in movies and stories. People crack, it happens. Although he shouldn't have shot the water buffalo and it was wrong no matter what, nobody can understand why except him and maybe the people that were in his platoon. The character that I connect with the best so far is Jimmy Cross. This is because many times in a situation i am the leader and i understand that it is a lot of pressure. And sometimes that pressure can end up causing you to mess up and blame yourself for whatver happens. Sometimes, like in jimmy cross's case, it sticks with you forever. In this book, something that stood out to me is the use of sensory details by Tim O'brien. Anytime he describes something, it is so detailed and descriptive that you can picture it almost perfectly. Almost feel exactly as they feel. "They would sit down or kneel, not facing the hole, listening to the ground beneath them, imagining cobwebs and ghosts, whatever was down there-the tunnel walls squeezing in-how the flashlight seemed impossibly heavy in hand and how it was tunnel vision in thevery strictest sense, compression in all ways, even time, and how you had to wiggle in-ass and elbows- a swallowed-up feeling-and how you found yourself worrying about odd things: will your flashlight go dead? Do rats carry rabies? If you screamed, how far would that sound carry? Would your buddies hear it? Would they have the courage to drag you out? In some respects, though not many, the waiting was worse than the tunnel itself, imagination was a killer." This impacted me because of the sensory details. They were so vivid and detailed that i felt like i was crawling through that tunnel. It really sticks with you.

Exploration 5: Hans Hartle

   Although there are several quality stories in The Things They Carried my favorite has to be "The Dentist". The reason why I like this short story so much is because although it is almost mocking Curt Lemon and his fear of the Dentist its shows even our bravest soldiers have fears. Coincidentally, Curt Lemon's fear was of Dentist, one of which so happened to visit there camp. Although he complained and made a scene about his hatred towards dentist saying "No way. Count me out. Nobody messes with these teeth" (O’Brien, 82), he eventually gained courage and had the dentist remove one of his teeth, even though nothing was wrong. "There was some pain, no doubt, but in the morning Curt Lemon was all smiles" (O’Brien, 84).

   I find it funny to say, but I connect with Jimmy Cross the most. Although I find some of the things that he states and does, creepy and perverted, he is basically a confused and in love man who wants to be out of the war. I can relate to him because I also have had multiple sets of girl problems...haha. I've also been in the position of doing something that I don't want to be doing just because I don't want to disappoint my family and peers. Not pleasing them and making them proud would be harder than to attempt what I wanted to accomplish instead.

   The one convention of narrative that I like to see is the ellipses. I like this tool in writing narratives because many of the books I read growing up have used them. In particular, the Percy Jackson series (which I somehow manage to bring up in almost every post) uses them on roughly every third chapter to change the narrator. Throughout the book Rick Riorden cycles between 3-5 main characters to keep the perspectives on the unfolding events fresh and unique to each character. On top of this he can tell stories that are happening at two different places at the same time without confusing the reader. Instead of changing the narrator, ellipses can also dictate a change in time or place. They are used multiple times in the Sound and The Fury to dictate change in setting and narrator, but are sometimes left out in changes of time to blend the past and present.

   The passage that has struck me the most is still from chapter one, "The Things They Carried". "They carried their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor" (O’Brien, 20). This passage hits me hard because after watching several war movies and documentaries on how excited soldiers were to go to war or not being afraid about the events to come. This passage gives light to a different side of the story. It was often told that in the earlier wars of America, The American Revolution, Civil War, Ect. that soldiers knew they were about to die marching in the front line towards the enemy and some did blush, seeking a way out and getting shot for treason. Others stood and awaited their fate because they wanted no one else to see them blush.

Vietnam-era research topics. From Mike Lohre.

Understanding People, Events and Pictures related to the Vietnam Era
Students, you will research one of these topics or photos/topics for this exercise.  Pick one and work to research the topic. 
--What do we need to know that will help us understand the Vietnam era and the novel we are now reading?     
--Seek to answer these basic questions: Who or what is this, what happened, and why is this subject important?
Post your ideas and reflections about this idea on our blog in the Comments section below this post.

William Westmoreland

Battle of Khe Sahn

The Tet Offensive

The Ho Chi Minh Trail HANS

The Tonklin Gulf incident and the domino theory CODY

The DMZ de-militarized zone LUKE

Jane Fonda and ‘Hanoi Jane’ controversy-- HAILEY JACKSON

Abbie Hoffman and antiwar protests SHELBY

Thomas W. Bennett and one other Medal of Honor winner of your choice from Vietnam era LORENZO

Ho Chi Minh JORDEN

Song “Four Dead in Ohio” released and impact KATIE WELLS

Song “Fortunate Son” released and impact ANDREW

Song “All Along the Watchtower” released and impact GRANT

Lyndon Johnson

Martin Luther King gives “Beyond Vietnam” speech HALEY BULL CLEVELAND

Muhammed Ali JACOB

Richard Nixon and Watergate

The My Lai Massacre SHRAVAN

Agent Orange  use and effects PRESTON

The draft for the Armed Services: how likely it was and who got drafted the most, plus ‘draft dodgers’ or those who fled or avoided service

Geography and climate of Vietnam SANDEEP

Economy and Lifestyle of Vietnam HALEY