Vietnam Reading Assignment
By: Abby Hammond
In the chapter "The Man I Killed," O'Brien demonstrates how the narrator reacted when he killed a soldier in Vietnam with a grenade. Kiowa was with the narrator when this incident took place, and both of the characters had a difficult time coming to the realization that a soldier was killed. Kiowa imagined what achievements and goals the soldier could have achieved if he wasn't in the war, and the narrator and Kiowa were devastated by this incident.
Furthermore, in the poem "Facing It," Yusef Komunyakaa has a flashback to the Vietnam war when he visited the wall with all of the names of the soldiers who were killed in the war. He saw his friend, Andrew Johnson, and another white vet who was killed in the war, and he felt that his name should be on the wall as well.
"He wanted someday to be a teacher of mathematics. At night, lying on his mat, he could not picture himself doing brave things his father had done...He hoped in his heart that he would never be tested. He hoped the Americans would go away. Soon, he hoped" (O'Brien 125). This passage is significant because it demonstrates the types of lives many soldiers wish to have instead of fighting in the war. For example, this soldier desired to become a math teacher, but this dream was diminished because he lost his life in the war. Although many soldiers are enlisted to fight in the war, few aren't brave enough to risk their lives for their country.
"I go down the 58,022 names, half-expecting to find my own letters like smoke. I touch the name Andrew Johnson; I see the booby trap's white flash" (Komunyakaa 2424). This passage is significant because it reflects the sorrow and guilt that many soldiers face after the war. Many soldiers wish that they could have died instead of their friends, and this reflects the lives many veterans have after the war. This veteran is struggling with PTSD, and he desires to have his friends beside him.
This image connects to the poem "Facing It" because it displays how one veteran visited the wall with all of the names of the soldiers who died in the war. Furthermore, the soldier displays the emotions of guilt and sadness because he longs to have his friends beside him. Many soldiers have a difficult time accepting the fact that their friends were killed in the war, and they continue to flash back to many special moments with their friends.