Analysis Of Tim O ' Brien 's ' The Vietnam War ' Essay

1109 Words Apr 20th, 2016 5 Pages
Anna Councill

1st Period

In If I Die in a Combat Zone, Tim O 'Brien argued that the Vietnam War was unjust and unethical through his depictions of the inhumane fighting between American and Vietnamese soldiers, with examples of his opinions on how this war was pointless, by detailing the soldier 's experiences of death and the mental and physical turmoil they endured during their time in war.

According to Tim O’Brien, the Vietnam war left so many soldiers mentally and physically damaged. They literally had to alter how the truly felt about death and fear. Tim O 'Brien said, “To talk about death was bad luck, the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy. Death was Taboo. The word for getting killed was “wasted”. When you hit a Bouncing Betty and it blows you to bits, you get wasted” (O’Brien 136). In order to maintain a “normal” life, the soldiers had to mentally transform their thoughts on death into daily nonchalant feelings. This was very hard for any soldier to do, not only because of the emotional aspects of death, but because some of the American troops felt as though they shouldn’t be fighting in this war.

The soldiers were even more unemotional when it came to the deaths of the Vietnamese people. In Chapter 8 Tim O’Brien described a scene where Mad Mark sliced the ear off of a Vietnamese person he had just killed and brought it back to show the rest of the soldiers who then proceeded to make jokes about it. Another example of the humane detachment was in Chapter 12…

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