The story that has meant the most to me so far is the Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong. It really represents how far apart normal civilization and war really are. It shows how war can change a person through Mark Fossie's girlfriend. When she first came into the picture she was a sweet young innocent girl, "She had long white legs and blue eyes and a complexion like strawberry ice cream. Very friendly, too." (89) But near the end, she did a complete 360, "It took a few seconds, Rat said, to appreciate the full change. In part it was her eyes, utterly flat and indifferent. There was no emotion in her stare, no sense of the person behind it. But the grotesque part he said, was her jewelry. At the girl's throat was a necklace of human tongues. Elongated and narrow, like pieces of blackened leather, the tongues were threaded along a length of copper wire, one tongue overlapping the next, the tips curled upwards as if caught in a final shrill syllable" (106).
I connect with Kiowa the most, which is kind of strange. I think it's mostly because he's the peacemaker in the group and is always there for everyone. He's always there as a shoulder to cry on.
A convention of narrative that I think really helped the story was in the chapter "Speaking of Courage", Tim O'Brien did a great job using senses to make the story come to life. For example, "The field was boiling. The shells made deep slushy craters, opening up all those years of waste, centuries worth, and the smell came bubbling out of the earth." (142). He really makes the field come to life with the sense he uses.
I was struck by the writing early on in the book when Tim O'Brien was running away from the war,
"Twenty yards. I could've done it. I could've jumped and started swimming for my life. Inside me, in my chest, I felt a terrible squeezing pressure. Even now, as I write this, I can still feel that tightness. And I want you to feel it-- the wind coming off the river, the waves, the silence, the wooded frontier. You're at the bow of a boat on the Rainy River. You're twenty-one years old, you're scared, and there's a hard squeezing pressure in your chest. What would you do?" (54). Reading this part gave me goosebumps, because what would I have done in his position? It's insane that so many people went through this situation during this time period. You can really hear O'Briens passion in this part of the writing and I love it.