Challenge Statement #7

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Challenge Statement #7

Post  Daniel Spinazzola on Mon May 09, 2011 5:38 pm

Norman Bowker did not enjoy his life after the war. The engraved pain and stress from the war stuck with him even when he returned to his hometown. The chapter, "Speaking of Courage", further supports this belief. Throughout the chapter, Bowker contemplates his many thoughts and actions before, during, and after the war. He reminices on how life in his hometown used to be before the draft, and how everything seems to be quite "the same but different". As he drives around the seven-mile lake of his hometown, in this chapter, Bowker focuses on his emotions about the war. It seems to have an affect on every action he thinks about taking, including impressing Sally, his old crush before the war, with war-stories and time-telling. He reasons with himself about his possible responsibilty for Kiowa's death. He also thinks about the conversations with his father about gaining medals, and how he could have won the silver star medal if he saved Kiowa. As he is thinking about his war-time past, Bowker seems to notice the same monotonous actions taken by the same people around the lake. Although nothing seemed to change in his hometown, Bowker feels that he is emotionally scarred by the war (due to his constant reminising). Nothing seemed to have purpose anymore, causing Bowker to drop out of community college and do the same exact thing everyday: wake up, play basketball, and drive around the lake. It seemed that Bowker was living vicariously through this repetition on a day to day basis. The constant remembering of his faults during the war ultimately led to him hanging himself at the YMCA. The dramatic emotional impact of the Vietnam War permanetly scarred Bowker, causing him to not enjoy his life after it was over.

Daniel Spinazzola

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Re: Challenge Statement #7

Post  briejones9 on Mon May 09, 2011 10:07 pm

I agree. Bowker did not enjoy his life after the war because everything was the same as it had always been, but he had changed due to the war. He desperately needed someone to talk to and to work things through with, but no one wanted to listen. I believe he would have healed and moved forward if he'd been able to talk, but because he had so many repressed thoughts and so much anger, he wasn't able to get beyond the hurt and anger of the war. He wanted to be part of the community, part of some company or job, but nothing worked for him. Maybe it was due to the fact that he could not communicate on their terms, or that he needed others to communicate on his terms, but either way, he was never again on the same planet as the others in his community. Wherever he went, he didn't belong. It was as if he needed to put down the things he carried, bury them, and get them out of his mind in order to find joy or happiness and move forward. But he couldn't. No one would listen or help him find his way.

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