Vietnam Assignment

By Kenna Elliott and Scott Lyman

Summary of Readings

The Man I Killed (Chapter from The Things I Carried) by Tim O' Brien

A soldier kills another soldier from the village of My Khe and cannot stop staring at the brutal scene in front of him. He couldn't help but look at the gruesome scene as the soldiers jaw was in his throat and his eye was completely gone, shaped like a star. He starts thinking about the kind of life this man had, how he had friends, a family, a wife, and how he had probably just gotten out of a university. He seems to be remorseful for his actions and it makes him think about the purpose of the war.

"Thanks" by Yusef Komunyakaa

A Vietnam veteran explains the conditions of being a soldier in guerilla warfare. The only thing that can help in the war is luck. He explains certain situations in which if luck didn't play a part in it, he would have died.

Important Passages

The Things They Carried- The Man I Killed by Tim O' Brien

"The nose was undamaged. The skin on the right cheek was smooth and fine-grained and hairless. Frail-looking, delicately boned, the young man wouldn't not have wanted to be a soldier and in his heart would have feared performing badly in battle. Even as a boy growing up in the village of My Khe, he had often worried about this." This passage is important to the reading as a whole because it relates back to how he feels about killing this innocent boy, he's describing how he looks and how the boy probably felt about going to war relating back to how guilty he feels and how he feels as if he knows him.

Thanks by Yusef Komunyakaa

"Thanks for the tree between me & a sniper's bullet. I don't know what made the grass sway seconds before the Viet Cong raised his soundless rifle." This passage connects to the reading as whole by showing how clueless the soldiers were. Any at given time a bomb could go off if they take two steps to the right, but if they go left everything would be fine. It explains why the soldiers were so stressed and worried all the time because they couldn't let their guard down.

Discussion Questions

The author is trying to convey what being at war is actually like. It's not all about killing others and being tough. Its about the loss and the hardships the soldiers face that they weren't prepared for. For example, in the chapter The Man I Killed, the soldier kills a man as part of his duty but can't escape the personal feelings he has towards it. War can bestow a constant fear inside of you. It doesn't just effect the soldiers themselves, it effects their loved ones as well. In the poem Thanks, the soldier reminisces on how lucky he was to get through the war alive. He still thinks about the war even though its over.

Image Analysis

Big image
This image shows the grief, regret, and sorrow carried by a soldier as he breaks down to his fellow friend and troop. Even though this is not shown in Vietnam times, it's depicting what every soldier, no matter what year, goes through. This relates to the grief these soldiers feel in the book as well as they have no where to turn to but the men that are around them. Also, this picture breaks free from the normal media coverage of war. Instead of giving people a fake image of what war looks like, this picture portrays the reality of it.
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son [Music Video]
The song gives an anti-war message. He is pointing out that people who have money or have an importance to society are overlooked during the draft. This relates to the chapter, The Man I Killed, because the Vietcong soldier he killed is the unfortunate one. He wasn't supposed to be in the war but he had no choice. Both America and the Vietcong had soldiers that were pulled away from their family with no war experience. The video also shows real pictures from the war.