response to #7

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response to #7

Post  Domdith on Tue May 10, 2011 12:24 am

Did Norman Bowker enjoy being home after the war?

I disagree with that statement and I feel that Bowker did not enjoy his time when he was back home after ther war. The Vietnam War was a very unpopular war in America during the 1960's. Many American citizens felt like the war was pointless and that the United States had no right even intervening in the Vietnam situation. This applies directly to Norman Bowker and his story that he is so consumed about and can't stop thinking about and reliving the situation in his head. Pg 152 "How'd you like to hear about... hear what, man? Nothing" At this part of the book Norman Bowker has been driving around the local lake thinking about how he would tell his dad about the Vietnam war story. He takes a break and goes to Mama's burgers and fries. While their he is constantly using military "slang" ie: Afirmitive, copy clear, Rodger Dodger, fire for effect and standby. Norman Bowker wants to share his story with the employ but decides to stop himself and not share at all. I feel like it is almost ironic how engulfed Norman is with the Vietnam war but doesn't want to share his stories about himself and the role he plays in it. I want to say that he feels dishonor to talk about him serving in a war that has gotten so much negative attention from the United States public. How Norman Bowker talks also shows me that he still feels like he is in Vietnam and has not fully recovered from the traumatic events that took place. I believe in general that Norman bowker didn't enjoy himself because he was constantly pestering other people like his high school sweet heart, remissing about his lost friends and constantly reliving the atrocities of the war itself. To back up these claims Norman Bowker killed himslef by hanging in a YMCA.


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Re: response to #7

Post  KyleGibb on Tue May 10, 2011 12:57 am

You make a very valid point: that Bowker was so greatly effected by the traumatic events in Vietnam that the haunting memories eventually drove him to suicide. But even so, I think you took too cynical of a stance on this topic. You made it sound in a way like it was his own fault that he had these suicidal thoughts which eventually led to his death. I think that no matter what he could do about it, he had suffered a great loss back in Vietnam with the death of his friend, and that alone constitutes his feelings of loneliness and depression. Along with these other recent realizations that he had made, like how his old girlfriend, Sally, abandoned him and how he couldn't find someone right to tell his story too, all combined to form a very negative situation that was the underlying cause of his suicide. If he had not been a part of the war in the first place, he would not have been in that position. So, I agree with you on the fact that he did not enjoy his life after the war, and he struggled greatly trying to cope with the burden of the horrors that he experienced in Vietnam, But I want to add to your stance by saying without this horrific spree of events in his lifetime, he would not have been driven to the option of suicide.

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Re: response to #7

Post  CorinneBarnes on Tue May 10, 2011 10:35 pm

I agree with what both of you said, but I would also like to expand your ideas. In addition to the fact nobody was interesting in hearing Bowker's war stories, Norman Bowker also returned to a town where everyone continued with their normal lives. He distanced himself from the other townspeople because he was still fixated on the war. Bowker was afraid that if he were to share his experiences with others, they would believe that he was unable to move on with his life. He realized that his mind was, indeed, still in Vietnam when he wrote a letter to O'Brien, stating that when Kiowa died, he "sank down into the sewage with him." Bowker had never gotten over Kiowa's death; therefore, his thoughts were still focused on the events of the war.

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