Vietnam Reading Assignment

By: Lynara Riley & Jalen Perry

Summary Of Readings

"Counting Small-boned Bodies" by Robert Bly is about the battlefield in the Vietnam War. The poem explains how many people were killed in combat, by using hyperbole and sarcasm.

"The Dentist" by Tim O'Brian is about a man named Curt Lemon who was afraid of the dentist because of experiences from his past. When it was his turn to get his teeth checked he panicked, but the dentist didn't find anything wrong with teeth which was a little embarrassing for him, Ironically. Later that night Curt Lemon began to complain about a toothache. The dentist examined him once more and again didn't find anything wrong. Lemon kept insisting that the dentist needed to pull the tooth out so he did. After Curt Lemons tooth came out he was in a better mood.

Important Passages

"The size of skulls" (Bly 3). I chose this line from the poem "Counting Small-boned Bodies" because it explains the whole poem in one line. It uses sarcasm by saying the skulls are smaller than usual because there are so many.

" The Dentist couldn't find any problem, but Lemon kept insisting, so the man finally shrugged and shot in the nova cane and yanked out a perfectly good tooth. There was some pain, no doubt, but in the morning Kurt Lemon was all smiling" (O'Brian 4). This quote is important because Kurt Lemon was afraid of the dentist but yet he wanted him to pull out a perfectly good tooth.

Image Analysis

This image reflects how many people didn't know the reasoning behind the Vietnam War. Many Americans and Vietnamese wanted the war to just end and to stop sending young soldiers off to Vietnam.

Discussion Questions

In the passage "Dentist" Tim O'brien was trying to convey the message that soldiers get used to having to deal with deadly challenges and when they are faced with challenges such as getting a check up from the dentist they don't know how to deal with that. This impacts people because they get used to the war lifestyle and are unfamiliar with average day to day challenges that civilians face.

In the passage "Counting Small-boned Bodies" Robert Bly was trying to convey the amount of casualties in the war. The people disagree with the war tactics because citizens are dying and the leaders are just sitting behind a desk watching it happen.

Connection to Media

This video shows footage of how gruesome the war was. It also shows how sometimes soldiers didn't know who was the enemy and who were innocent.
Vietnam War - Combat Footage HD Quality