Friday, April 15, 2011

The Dentist

A short peculiar chapter, not much for me to say about this one..except that Curt Lemon is a little more loco than I thought he was. But craziness can only be judged so far for these soldiers. "He didn't mind blood or pain--he actually enjoyed combat--but there was something about a dentist that just gave him the creeps." Talk about your desensitization! It's so hard to believe that there are actually people like this at war today. It makes me sad.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Tell a True War Story

The craziest part of this chapter, for me, was the story about Curt Lemon blowing up in to a tree. I mean, come on! First of all, not only is that overwhelmingly disturbing and gross, but it's just sick how Dave Jensen was singing "Lemon Tree" as they took down the body parts...I think I actually shuddered while reading this. And then there was the baby buffalo. Oh my gosh. It's so sad! And incredibly disturbing! And, as Tim O'Brien (the narrator) mentions, "hard to believe". I remember thinking "so everyone's really just standing around watching chunks of flesh being blown off this baby buffalo, and doing absolutely nothing about it?" That was like 6 different levels of messed up. Sorta makes me glad my dad doesn't share his war stories, and now I see why.

Oh the language of these soldiers, geez louise! I can understand Rat Kiley's feeling upset about Curt's sister not writing back, and I would've called her a "cooze" as well. I mean, after blowing up people (and buffaloes) all day long, and scraping your friend's body parts from a tree, I'd be pretty damn angry if I didn't get a letter back too. It's really not much to ask for at all. Soldiers are fascinating to me now. It's amazing how whenever someone dies, no one even blinks. That's scary that people can be trained to act that way, to be that way. It's almost like taking someone's soul from them. And I think by Rat Kiley shooting at that baby buffalo, he was in a way trying to make himself feel something. I think at that moment, he realized that he had a part of him taken away, and he's desperately trying to get it back by hurting the buffalo. O'Brien even mentions that he was only doing it to hurt the buffalo, not to kill it. It's such a shame.

Enemies and Friends

I think these chapters pretty much sum up the "war is a paradox" idea. Two men, fighting side by side, become enemies, then friends again; insanity at its best. It's almost amusing and would be somewhat touching if they weren't in a war. Still, it's gotta be just crazy being around all that wonder Jensen gets paranoid after the jackknife fight (which by the way, is sorta sad to think about; fighting over a killing tool, while killing strangers). Oh! and speaking about crazy, when Jensen broke his own nose, after stalking and breaking Strunk's nose--wow. A guy breaks his own nose (with a damn pistol!) just to make things "even" between him and Strunk. Now that's what I call friendship! Their little pact to kill each other if one was wounded was sorta sweet. That's the thing with this book, there's little flickers of happiness in the war, but then something happens, and you remember what you're reading about. I keep getting tricked into believing there's a happy ending somewhere, but I guess that's the point of a war story; there aren't any happy endings ever. Of course Lee's leg had to get blown off, and look into Dave's eyes and ask him not to kill him; I don't think any of these chapters don't include some sort of tear-jerking scene. It's exhausting to read after a while, but I can't stop myself...that sorta sounds like what Clary meant when she said that even though war is terrifying and horrible, we still are somewhat fascinated by it. Makes me think about why people are like that.

On the Rainy River

This story made me think about how hard it must be for all the people who go to war just because of everyone else's expectations. It's crazy to think that we, as human beings, force people to go off to some remote place and kill complete strangers--and then have the nerve to criticize them for not doing it. This chapter sorta reminded me of how my dad must have felt when he got drafted. He had his mind set on playing football, and he was happy, then he got drafted and didn't have a say in anything about it because 1.) he was only 19. 2.) his father had pressured him. and 3.) it was his "duty" to do so as an American. And in this chapter, I got to see all the emotions that men go through when they're afraid. It's bizarre, really. Especially the part when he's on the boat with the old guy and just breaks down in front of what seems to be the entire world.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Love and Spin

I wanna start off by saying how much i LOVE this's the reason I'm so behind on my blogs; I simply cannot stop reading. This book is just so beautifully sad-- like, although I think there should be a movie made for it, I don't think anyone could construct a movie to be as good as the book itself. These short little chapters throughout the book are so odd individually, but without them the book would be lopsided (for lack of a better word). I love how Tim O'Brien [the author] plays with the whole notion of reality and fiction; for example, the beginning of Love is being narrated by some unknown person; who I originally thought was Martha. But it's not Martha! It's Tim O'Brien [the character, who is also an author] who tells these fictional stories in serious detail! OK, enough ranting about the marvelousness of the book as a whole, here's what I think about Love and Spin.

Poor Jimmy Cross. I really just want to hug him; he's in love with a girl that doesn't care about him or what he feels about her at all, and he's got all this guilt for Ted Lavender's death. I think in this chapter, I saw how much of a good guy Jimmy is, and how much of a shame it is that he had to be thrown into that war. I don't see how anyone could feel anything but sympathy for him...yet Martha doesn't feel anything.

My goodness, the diction in this chapter is breathtaking:That is poetry if I've ever read it. It should be made into song lyrics; I literally gasped when I read this part. The way the war and all the aspects of it are described in this chapter just seem so vivid and insane.
"You're pinned down in some filthy hellhole of a paddy, getting your ass delivered to kingdom come, but then for a few seconds everything goes quiet and you look up and see the sun and a few puffy white clouds, and the immense serenity flashes against your eyeballs--the whole world gets rearranged-- and even though you're pinned down by a war you never felt more at peace." (pgs. 35-36)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chapter 1

The first chapter of The Things They Carried automatically conjures up a recipe for a potential tear-jerker. I love those "hopelessly in love but ultimately alone" characters, and Jimmy cross is the perfect example of one. The first chapter makes me exhausted, like I was right there with the soldiers, carrying all that stuff. I felt sad reading it--like when every soldier was described along with their stuff, I felt like I knew them, but from some old memory. It was like listening to someone share memories of a close friend at their funeral; and I felt that for all the soldiers, especially Ted Lavender. I find the short sentences interesting; I usually hate reading things that have short sentences, but this is different. The sentences are short, but engaging, and they make you wanna keep reading. (so surprising since this is a war story) Nonetheless, I really love this book. I'm already like half way through, and it's bizarre what goes through these soldiers' minds, and how Tim O'Brien writes it; hard to believe it's fiction.