Challenge Statement #6

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Challenge Statement #6

Post  Jenna Strobel on Sun May 08, 2011 9:31 pm

I believe the statement, “In O'Brien's experience, it was never a good idea to trust Vietnamese civilians”, is completely false. Several experiences in the novel show that trusting the people in their homeland was the correct thing to do to ultimately stay safe. For example, in the chapter “Spin” the soldiers add “an old poppa-san” to their group to guide them through the Batangan Peninsula. The men trusted him with their lives as he moved them through the dangerous mine fields. Without having faith in this man the soldiers would have not known where the safe spots were and they could have easily died on the trip. An experience in which I feel the soldiers should have trusted the Vietnamese civilians occurred in the story titled “Church”. The men arrive at a pagoda with only a few monks left and the monks did not seem to care that they were there. Some men had conflicting feelings about setting up a war base at a church, such as Kiowa. I feel as though the Alpha Company was cursed for staying in a church, many deaths occur after this story in the novel and I do not think that is just a coincidence. War could be considered a sin and using a holy sanctuary as a base might have led to some soldiers down falls. They should have left when they knew the monks were still worshiping there. Overall, I could not identify any cases in which O’Brien should have not trusted the civilians, it seemed as though they wanted the American soldiers to stay safe.

Jenna Strobel

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Re: Challenge Statement #6

Post  Richard yacobellis on Mon May 09, 2011 12:37 pm

Well, first, I would like to say that this is a well-thought out challenge of the accuracy of the statement made in question #6. The response is developed and defended effectively, being supported by referenced events that have transpired throughout the book. However, your assertion that Alpha Company is cursed for their sacrilege lacks development. That is not to say that is unfounded, only that it needs to be defended by evidence from the book's rhetoric or plot. Was there an ominous feeling before each death? Did their misfortune in later chapters result from this event or was it just bad luck? What was coincidence and what was divine punishment? These are some of the questions that could be asked by the reader. I cannot say whether the assertion was right, wrong, or even irrelevant, only that it needs to be stronger.

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Response to Jenna

Post  Swayze Page on Mon May 09, 2011 1:48 pm

I agree with everything that Jenna stated regarding the question. However, I do not agree with Jenna's assertion that the soldiers camping in the church was a bad omen and lead to death. Rather than refute Jenna's statement I would rather like to expand the discussion on the response that i agree with. When Jenna brought up the old man and the trust the soldiers shared with him it brought a very good point up and showed how trust was beneficial to both the soldiers and the vietnamese citizens. This example was one of many that the book utilized in order to convey the need for trust between soldier and citizen. I think that also this specific instance in the book served the purpose of making the audience feel emotion towards the relationship between the soldiers and the man. This emotion uplifts the audience and therefore makes them realize that their is good in every bad situation even war. This good comes from a direct result of trust that is placed between soldier and citizen and therefore it emphasizes the point that soldier's and citizen's trusting each other would benefit both parties.

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Re: Challenge Statement #6

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