Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Exploration 6: Reading Response by: John Rickman

The story "Style", has been the meant the most to me so far because it reminded me of a high school bully sitaution. It also helps that the chapter is so short, compared to the long, text heavy, meaty chapters before it, so this little break helped me connect and appreciate the chapter more. Dobbins grabs the soldier who was mocking the girls dance, and threatens to throw him in a well if he doesn't quit. This is a classic rehashing of someone standing up for someone weaker. I love stories and things that go against the grain like that.

I've connected the most with First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, because the author, Tim O'Brien, has shown us so much into his heart. I empathize and actually feel bad for him and his unrequited love situation. He possesses intellect, but isn't able to fully use it because he's so sprung and in love with Martha. All guys have to admit there's been that one girl that has made them feel some type of way; they possessed something special, that drew you in, and you just couldn't leave her alone. His obsession with Martha really helps me connect with him, and causes me to see him more as a real person, rather than a random character from Tim's recollection of the Vietnam War.

So far, Tim has used the narrative convention of scenes effectively. He jumps from story to story, time frame to time frame, so casually that sometimes you don't realize time has changed yet. I like it, because it places you in the mindset of each version of him (his post war author version & his during war teenage version), allowing you really think and get into his thoughts, as if you're in the story also.

The most captivating passage so far has been on page 4, "Whenever he looked at the photographs, he thought of new things he should've done". This caption is referring to Lieutenant Cross, as he's recollecting what could've been with Martha. This passage really hit me because I know the feeling he's expressing all too well. Regret, thinking about the past and what would've happened if you did certain things can be very painful, so seeing how one of the characters went through something so human really set the perspective of life in my mind. Although this excerpt isn't even about Vietnam, it does help you set the perspective of the war. What would have happened if Jimmy never had to serve? What if he had been more upfront with Martha sooner? Would she have been there when he came home? We will never know.


  1. When it comes to Tim O'Brien he does such an amazing job in using different emotions and different narrative conventions to express what he is feeling or what he wants to portray through his characters. With Jimmy's unrequited love towards Martha it shows Jimmy's dedication towards the people he loves and for fighting for what he believes in.
    I really liked the story of Style because like you said it was such a short story that was wedged between two really long stories. I feel that because it was between two really long stories that it gave us a chance to be able to look at it and actually process and think about what was going on in this story.

  2. I was also very captivated by the passage on page 4 you mentioned because I can definitely connect with it but on a much lower scale. Everybody has regrets but these soldiers have to deal with the fact that their friends have died and it could have been any of them. They will always have that guilt and regret, which would be horrible to have to live with.


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