Challenge Statement #8

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Challenge Statement #8

Post  joeg3193 on Mon May 09, 2011 6:27 pm

To say that Norman Bowker's plight was a direct result from the Vietnam War is a gross generalization. While it did play a role in his suicide, his character itself also played a major part in this. Norman Bowker had a fatal flaw in his character, and that was his unwillingness to talk, as shown on page 151 and throughout the chapter Speaking of Courage. The irony of this title when reflected upon Bowker's character highlights this. However, Vietnam was what precipitated his drastic reaction to the stress Bowker faced after the war. Because he could not talk about the stresses and hardships he faced in Vietnam, namely the night "in the field," he was unable to express himself and his emotions fully, and because of that, they ultimately consumed him. From a psychological perspective, Bowker suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, but his severe mental flaw had to have been present from before then. It is apparent, then, that Vietnam did influence Bokwer's decision to kill himslef, but an underlying personality fault combined with this is what guaranteed his fate.

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Post  abbgately on Mon May 09, 2011 8:02 pm

Joe you make an excellent point here. By saying that Vietnam directly caused Norman Bowker's sorrow is leaving Bowker’s own internal demons out of the equation. His need to keep emotions locked inside of himself instead of vocalizing them leads to his eventual demise. He faces a variety of traumatic experiences while in Vietnam and is faced with a variety of emotional problems, like survivors guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder. These problems all have the common thread of Vietnam yet are brought to the extreme by Bowker's refusal to express his sadness. Bowker is the direct cause of his own troubles and eventual suicide, just like Joe stated.

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