Monday, April 13, 2015

Dialectical Journal #20

This book overall was really pleasing to me. Covering a topic that many may have previous knowledge of, this novel puts all the facts and information into perspective, showing us the true and unbelievable encounters many had during the times of the Vietnam War. While this topic is harsh, O'Brien really captures the essence of the war as a whole, and puts it into a way that any reader is able to grasp.

Dialectical Journal #19

The writing style of this novel was very enjoyable to me as a reader. While is could sometimes be choppy and hard to follow, the idea of storytelling really comes together in the last few sections. Using this idea of storytelling the reader is able to grasp and understand the felling and thought behind each and every move that a character makes. It puts each though into perspective and it very beautifully written.

Dialectical Journal #18

pg. 208-233
"Sometimes I can even see Timmy skating with Linda under the yellow floodlights. I’m young and happy. I’ll never die. I’m skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy’s life with a story." Closing the book as a whole O'Brien tackles the overwhelming subject of how memory and storytelling can come as a media for comfort in times of hopelessness. Helping himself deal with memories of the past he also does the same for the reader, helping is get though the tough topics this book discusses throughout.

Dialectical Journal #17

pg 208-233
This being one of the final sections of the novel it closes with the same attitude that it entered with, despair. Starting off the novel with Jimmy Cross and Martha, that shows a sense of loss and the strive for normalcy, while the novel ends with many of the platoon members feeling the long lasting effects of the war and they start to show signs of a loss in their own minds. Covering this topic at the beginning and the end can bring a sense of closure for the reader and while the subject matter may be harsh, it does show the reality of the situation at hand.

Dialectical Journal #16

This section also deals a lot with the idea of change. After Tim is shot he is being cared for by Rat Kiley. After moving on to the later recovery process, he  returns to find that Rat too has been wounded and was shipped off, only to be replaced by Bobby Jorgensen. This being a big change in his already unstable life it creates a major imbalance inside O'Brien, not seen in the previous pages of the novel. While change can be a huge hurdle in many lives, one cannot shake the fact that change is inevitable and is needed to move forward in our lives.

Dialectical Journal #15

"I’d come to this war a quiet, thoughtful sort of person, a college grad, Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude, all the credentials, but after seven months in the bush I realized that those high, civilized trappings had somehow been crushed under the weight of the simple daily realities. I’d turned mean inside." In this section, Tim O'Brien realizes that the war has hardened him. Planning to enacting revenge on Bobby Jorgensen, his eyes are opened to the rough conditions of the war. He realizes that he is a changed man and that there is no going back.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dialectical Journal #14

“I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.” This sections has a big impact on the reader. What this sections tells us is what we have been reading about for the pervious parts of the novel, stories and their impact on the listener. While some stories may not be the 100% truth, it doesn't mean they can’t mean something to another person.

Dialectical Journal #13

“A crime, Jimmy thought.” This crime being Kiowa’s death, the men in the platoon set on a search for his body. This section, being told in the third person, shows many different points of view, and how the death of a main character impacted the other characters in the novel. Kiowa’s death was sort of a climax for the story, and the recovery by the other members of the platoon will not be an easy journey. 

Dialectical Journal #12

“A good war story, he thought, but it was not a war for war stories, nor for talk of valor, and nobody in the town wanted to know about the terrible stink. They wanted good intentions and good deeds” Norman still feels guilty for Kiowa’s death but he feels that he needs to impress those around him. Feeling not worthy enough he goes out of his way to prove his bravery. Ultimately failing him, allowing Kiowa to die.

Dialectical Journal #11

“And his father would have nodded, knowing fully well that many brave men do not won medals for their bravery, and that others win medals for doing nothing.” Norman’s father knows that he is a brave man, but Norman still feels that he must impress his father with medals. Feeling guilty he tries to list his other seven medals he did win to try and compensate for the life he lost.

Dialectical Journal #10

“When she was nine, my daughter Kathleen asked if I had ever killed anyone. She knew about the war; she knew I had been a solider.” This sections flips the story, while Tim O’Brien talks about others killing, others being killed, he never mentions himself killing another person. Showing a even darker side to an already dark book, it adds depth to O’Brien’s character.

Dialectical Journal #9

pg. 11-130
“Its was one eccentricity. The pantyhose, he said, had the properties of a good-luck charm.” Henry Dobbins is a very superstitious character, as he believes that the pantyhose of his girlfriend are lucky. While a piece of cloth cannot hold supernatural powers this theory can easily  be debunked. However the pantyhose represent more than just good luck, they represent home and comfort. Reminding him of how home was, it pushes Dobbins to keep moving forward, because the power of memories is one that cannot be dampened. 

Dialectical Journal #8

“It took a few seconds, Rat said, to appreciate the full change. In part it was her eyes: utterly flat and indifferent.” This passage is slightly different from the previous sections. While the others were characters from the novel, this follows two characters Rat has created, Mark Fossie and Mary Anne Bell. Mark is a worker in an aid station, and he sneaks in a girl, Mary Anne. After being there for a little she adapts quickly and  doesn't want to leave, she eventually become over come by the war and its attitudes. Mary Anne represents the memories of the war. Once a person enters the war, they cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the war itself. Forcing the negativity and the despair one never leaves the war, because no one human being can ever escape the terror of war.

Dialectical Journal #7

pg. 82-110
“The dentist couldn't find any problem, but Lemon kept insisting, so the man finally shrugged and shot in the Novocain and yanked out a perfectly good tooth.” This  passage is very important to the development of the character Curt Lemon. After fainting in his last visit with the dentist, Lemon does not want to show that he is weak. So to counteract this idea he goes to the dentist and tries to prove himself, prove that he is brave and strong enough in the face of hardship.

Dialectical Journal #6

“Strunk frowned at the sky. He passed out again, then woke up and said, ‘Don’t kill me.’ ‘I won’t,’ Jensen said.” This section really puts the violence and severity of the war effort into perspective. After Lee Strunk steps on a rigged mortar his leg is blown off. After the fight between Jensen and Strunk they become buddies again, after time. They make an agreement between each of them that if one of them gets a bad injury, they call it a “wheelchair wound” they would find a way to end it. So when Strunk gets his leg blown off, he begs Jensen not to kill him, he doesn’t. But after Strunk is picked up by a chopper he dies on the way back.

Dialectical Journal #5

“One morning in late July, while we were out on patrol near LZ Gator, Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen got into a fistfight. It was about something stupid-a missing jackknife-but even so the fight was vicious.” While a normal fistfight in everyday life would cause only minor problems, this fight caused problems that were more than just minor. After the fight Jensen couldn't relax. He constantly felt nervous, and avoided problems that involved the other men alone. He was paranoid and afraid. These emotions were most likely amplified by the war. In normal lifestyle a person wouldn't feel this kind of emotion toward a regular problem. But with guns and the opposing side to worry about, it doesn't help to have to worry about your own comrades.

Dialectical Journal #4

“I drove north. It's a blur now, as it was then, and all I remember is velocity and the feel of a steering wheel in my hands.” In this passage Tim O’Brien snaps after he figures out the he is drafted for the war. When he finds out he questions why he was picked, and gets angry. Later dismissing this feeling it never really goes away, it comes back in full force. As he is working one day it hits him, and he walks out of work, and drives north. This feeling of helplessness is a common feeling when it comes to death. While his life it not threatened at this very moment, the idea of war is enough to cause that feeling, and have death loom over his every move.

Dialectical Journal #3

pg. 26-58
“Jimmy kept smiling. For a while he stared down at the photograph, his eyes were bright, then he shrugged and said, “Well I did-I burned it. After Lavender died, I couldn’t. . . This is a new one. Martha gave it to me herself.” The section takes place after the war, although it is very short it has a big impact on the story. In past Jimmy burns his photo of Martha, after Lavender dies. But this conversation between Jimmy and a friend (it is unclear who he is conversing with in this section) he tells a story of how he and Martha met again at a school reunion. They spent all night together. During their night together he mentions the burning of the photo, so Martha offers another photo to replace it. For Jimmy this new photo represents a fresh start. Although it reminds him of the war, he is reminded in a way that he knows the events cannot be recreated, so he needs some kind of reminder of what really happened during the war. They may not be happy memories, they are memories nonetheless, and sometimes we need to be reminded of the bad times so that we can grow out of them.

Dialectical Journal #2

pg. 1-25
Throughout the chapter, Jimmy Cross mentions the weight of many objects. Representing the weight of the memories, he tries to put the weight into tangible objects, by doing this it can mask the severity of these harsh memories. Showing the reader that many of the characters have been affected by the war, and are desperate to find a way to escape the demons inside of themselves.

Dialectical Journal #1

pg. 1-25
"In the first week of April, before Lavender died, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross received a good-luck charm from Martha. It was a simple pebble, an ounce at most."
With the main focus on Lieutenant Jimmy Cross we follow him through his journey of the war. In his despair he finds salvation in Martha, his long lost love. After receiving a little stone from Martha it becomes a symbol of hope and light in a sea of darkenss.