War Experience Essay

1100 Words 4 Pages
Defining war is easy; it’s an event in which two forces oppose each other. However, defining the war experience is more difficult. The war experience focuses on individuals rather than the forces as a whole. In the documentary “Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam,” viewers hear from many soldiers about their experiences. Tim O’Brien has talked about his experiences in the 1999 President’s Lecture and in his novels. From the documentary, the interview with O’Brien, and his novel, The Things They Carried, it is evident that the war experience is in the bonds formed, the internal change of a person, and in the pain war causes. One defining aspect of the war experience is the bonds that are created between soldiers. These bonds are strong. …show more content…
He is trying to tell her how good of a person her son was and how Vietnam did not turn him cruel like it did to many others. He expresses his grief in these words and one is able to tell that these men shared a strong bond. In the end, the soldier states that he should have died instead of the friend because the friend was a much better man than he. The interview with Tim O’Brien says that a war story is not about the combat, “War stories, like any good story, is finally about the human heart.” O’Brien is saying that war experience is dependent on emotion. The emotional bonds formed in war are a defining aspect of the war experience. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien tells the story of Lee Stunk and David Jensen. The two men had …show more content…
A soldier in war will experience pain, they have to see the death of friends and they also have to be the cause of pain by killing and destroying villages. However, even the medics got this aspect of the war experience as viewers are reminded in the documentary. A female medic tells her friends or family about how she is tired, she is tired of seeing the wounded or dead men come in each day. She is having trouble dealing with the pain she sees on a daily basis and she even states that seeing it makes her wish that she never came out to Vietnam. In The Things They Carried, O’Brien tells the story of Curt Lemon and Rat Kiley. Curt was Rat’s best friend and Curt tripped a bomb and died. Later, Rat finds a water buffalo and shoots to hurt, “Curt Lemon was dead. Rat Kiley had lost his best friend in the world… for now it was a question of pain.” (O’Brien 75). Rat was in pain and it is shown through his treatment of this buffalo. The soldiers must also deal with causing pain as well. As a soldier it is necessary to kill and for many doing so causes both parties pain. O’Brien talks about his experience with causing death, “Sometimes I forgive myself, other times I don’t.” Pain is inevitable in the war experience whether it’s emotional or

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