Challenge Statement #7

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Challenge Statement #7

Post  tia94 on Fri May 06, 2011 1:19 am

The statement "Norman Bower enjoyed being home after the war", I believe is completely incorrect. Norman finds himself driving around the 7-mile lake 12 times, as he was driving around in his father's Chevy endless thoughts and memories from the war ran through his head, he even had a conversation with himself putting words into the mouths of his father, Max, and Sally. It was as if he was trying to bring back his past life just to get it out of his system, but he had no one to express it to, which was why he formed all these hypothetical conversations with himself. He knew what he wanted to tell but he could not find the words to use. The effect of the war on Norman Bowker is so vivid to me, he was so emotionally twisted with thoughts and feelings that he can't even grasp. That was what led to his death, he finds no reason to be alive after the war; with his friend dead, even before anything happened, and his high school love already married. In his head he lives in the past, and to me it seems like he was stuck there.

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Post  Marina Shehata on Mon May 09, 2011 5:22 pm

I agree with what Tia is saying, but she didn't mention everything. In the end, he hung himself at the Y because his life wasn't going anywhere. His jobs didn't last long and he could not have the girl he was interested in. He dropped out of college because he felt that he belonged at Vietnam. He stated that he dropped out of college due to the fact that it wasn't "tangible" like the war. Like you said, he drove around the lake multiple times- sometimes while drinking. O'Brien stated that Bowker stayed in bed during the mornings, played basketball in the afternoons, and went cruising during the night. Most importantly, he was pitying himself. He felt that he was responsible for Kiowa's death. Although, he had family supporting him, I don't think he wanted to bear this burden anymore. So, in the end, he decides to commit suicide knowing there was nowhere to go.

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Post  Jenna Strobel on Mon May 09, 2011 5:32 pm

I agree that Norman Bowker did not enjoy his life after war but I do not believe he is stuck in the past. In the chapter “Speaking of Courage”, it focuses on a particular time in Bowkers life after the war. Though he does recall memories from the war, the focus is on how it affects him now. For example, the memory of Kiowa sinking into the mud and not being able to help him haunts Bowker, but it seems as if he is more nervous about explaining it to his father in the future. He is thinking ahead and he does not want to see the disappointment on his father’s face when he gives him the news that he did not win a Silver Star. Bowker is afraid of disappointing the townspeople and especially his father and that is why I believe he did not enjoy his life. On a different note, Bowker does actually enjoy the comfort of being in a safe place. When he is driving around the lake, it is stated that he is “feeling safe inside his father’s big Chevy”, he does not have to worry about the dangers he faced while in combat. Overall, being home gives Bowker guilt, anxiety, but also comfort.

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Post  Leanne Ottaviano on Mon May 09, 2011 8:37 pm

I agree that the statement regarding Norman Bowker being happy to be home from the war is incorrect. Tia showed specific examples of why he was not happy to be home so I re-read this section to see if there was any evidence to support that he was happy to be home and I found nothing. I agree that Norman was sad and lonely, but I also think there is a deeper meaning behind his actions. I feel that Norman Bowker is acting the way he is because he is feeling a sense of regret. When he says he imagined telling his father the story and admitting that he wasn't as courageous as he could have been, I feel that he wishes he had told his father in order to relieve some of the stress that had been building up within him.

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Re: Challenge Statement #7

Post  Emerie Pettit on Mon May 09, 2011 10:04 pm

I agree with Tia, Norman was not happy to be home. I think that he was stuck in the past in a way because he could not leave the war behind. He always thought about it, but he couldn't talk about it because it brought him feelings of guilt and sadness. He felt like he didn't even have anyone to talk about it to, and he probably felt extremely lonely. That can cause serious depression in someone holding in all those feelings. He felt like his life had no meaning anymore. I think that's what pushed him off the deep end into killing himself.

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Post  Stephvil on Mon May 09, 2011 11:40 pm

I completely agree, Bowker had trouble adjusting to life without the war due vastly from an inability to talk about his experiences as a soldier, especially as the soldier who failed to save Kiowa's life, feeling a certain amount of guilt as that of his fellow soldiers. Bowker just watches the activity on and around the lake, while he re-imagines his past, the life he lived before the war, one he can no longer connect to.

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