Summary Of Tim O Brien's In The Lake Of The Woods

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To many people, magic is mysterious. The majority of the crowd does not know how the magician is able to make the coin turn into a mouse, or how a living, breathing bird is able to live in a sleeve. A few will be able to see what these trick are really: deception and manipulation. In the book, In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien, the main character has a background of magic. His name is John Wade and he is a war vet trying to become a big name politician. This story is set in the 1970’s. John Wade served in the Vietnam War and has committed serious war crimes. The men he served with did give him a nickname, Sorcerer, which stuck with him and became part of his identity. While to ascend to becoming a politician, John Wade covers these crimes …show more content…
John started this relationship by stalking Kathy. He traced her every move when they were in college. Kathy was younger than him so when John went into the war, Kathy was still at college. The couple wrote letters during John’s time away, but soon he picked up on something. “‘Somethings wrong,’... ‘Don't do this to me. I’m not blind-- Sorcerer can see’” was how John described his feelings to Kathy in a letter. (O’Brien 39) The pleads from John shows how he relied on his relationship with Kathy but also relied on his nickname. This shows how the facade of a sane person was built around his relationship between Kathy and the comforts that his nickname gave him. John’s insecurity in this relationship symbolizes how a magician can see the insider tricks of a trick. John is saying that he is a magician, so he can see what is going on. After John Wade came home, he did not immediately rush to tell Kathy. Instead, he picked up on old habits of stalking her. At times he did feel guilty, but he explained that “he liked spying. He was Sorcerer. He has the gift, the knack.” (O’Brien 43) This gives an insight of how John viewed his stalking. He felt that he actually had powers, like a real sorcerer. The delusion of having powers and being able to see was his way of symbolizing that trickery gave him control of people and things in his life, like Kathy and their relationship. The facade created in this aspect of John Wade’s life was the facade of having a healthy relationship with Kathy. John’s lack of trust during the war and controlling tendencies proved that he had something to

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