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Post  connorbronson on Mon May 09, 2011 12:52 pm

I do not agree with the statement "Norman Bowker enjoyed being home after the war". Bowker, as most soldiers in Vietnam, could not wait to go back home to America but what he finds there just is not what he expected. Norman Bowker was not ready for what his home town brought him, nothing. His neighborhood, which surrounded a lake with a 7 mile loop of road offered none of the adrenaline, none of the drama, none of the battles, nothing of which he had become so accustomed to in Vietnam. He was looking for something that he left behind in Vietnam and he did not know what it was. In the chapter called "Notes" on page 150, O'Brien references to a letter that Bowker had sent him, he specifically quoted the line "The thing is, there's no place to go. Not just in this lousy little town. In general. My life, I mean. It's almost like I got killed over in Nam". He yearns strongly to just talk to someone, to express his feelings as a way to relive his experiences along with someone else. After he had bottled up his stories for so long they became overbearing for him and he eventually committed suicide. Norman Bowker did not enjoy being home after the war because war was what he had come to expect, anything less was boring.


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Post  Daniel Spinazzola on Mon May 09, 2011 6:43 pm

I agree that Norman Bowker's life after the war was unenjoyable. His life seemed to have less and less purpose as the Vietnam War came to an end and he was back in his hometown. Although this part of your response is true, I believe that it wasn't just the fact that his life was "boring", the emotional impact of his thoughts and actions during and after the war also ultimately led to his suicide. Bowker, as he drives around the lake of his hometown, contemplates his possible responsibility of the death of his war-mate, Kiowa. He also thinks about his father's encouragment of gaining medals, and how he could have won the silver heart is he had saved his friend. These, and many other thoughts about the war, I believe, led to Bowker's ending of purpose in life. The war permenately scarred Bowker by causing him to constantly think about it. This caused Bowker to have a monotonous life where he lived vicariously through the repetition of the same actions on a day to day basis, causing him to commit suicide. The emotional impact of the war led to the absense of purpose in life, which ultimately led to his death.

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Post  Troy Viking on Mon May 09, 2011 10:16 pm

Yes i agree with both of the posts anytime you kill yourself your life can't be that enjoyable. Throughout the war Norman was looked at as a quite, shy, and gentle guy, not exactly what you think of in a solider. He carried around a thumb from a dead VC solider. He and Kiowa have a tough time coping with Ted Lavender's death so, looking back on the war can not be easy. Once he returned home life wasn't any easier his dad was very quite and his ex-girlfriend is happily married to another man. He can't talk about the war he tries but it winds up being to difficult, and his last attempt to talk to Tim fails and thus leading to Norman killing himself. The war becomes so emotional to most people that if you try talk to any vet most will refuse. Norman lost his purpose for life after the war so, him enjoying life after the war is a false statement.

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