Question 5

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Post  RyanHarring on Tue May 10, 2011 1:55 am

Mary Anne Bell, in my opinion, falls in the "something else" category of the question, mostly through process of elimination. She was not necessarily a traitor, unless you were Mark Fossie, who she left for the thrill of the hunt, she was never really a part of the army, a tourist, so her leaving was not desertion. Her betrayal of Mark Fossie is not even really a betrayal. Mark Fossie was trying to force her to be something that she felt she was not, he was not wrong, but neither was he right, and his heavy handed ways of trying to "help" her actually in part helped to push her to become what she became (Reverse psychology, he was telling her no, which in turn made her want it more, making it into some sort of forbidden fruit).

Her being a hero is slightly harder to discredit, but that is more because it doesn't seem connected to her character at all. The only heroic things she did were helping people when they arrived injured at the base, which while slightly altruistic, was done for selfish reasons, and not to actually save anyone; she was looking for the adrenaline rush. Furthermore, she eventually left the base to become a part of the forest, which, while not making her a traitor, it certainly does not make her a hero.

I would classify Mary Anne Bell as a junkie, high off of adrenaline and the thrill she got in the forests. While some of the things she did while she was under her "high" can be construed as heroic, or the acts of a traitor, it all boils down to her addiction to thrills. She is not a traitor because she had no real reason to hurt anyone, she felt no malice towards anyone in the camp, she hated them for not understanding the new her, but not enough to hurt them. She was not a hero because she was not altruistic, she never gave anything up, or did anything to really help anyone besides herself. She is an addict because all the things she did once she found her new drug revolved around finding that high, until all that was left was to become a part of the forest.


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Question 5 Empty Re: Question 5

Post  CorinneBarnes on Tue May 10, 2011 10:14 pm

I really like how different your view of Mary Anne Bell is from everyone else's. I would agree that belongs in the "something else" category; however, I had a different interpretation. When I read the chapter, Mary Anne appeared to be a symbol of the soldier's innocence before entering the war and of the changes the war brought upon the soldiers. Soon after Mary Anne arrived in Vietnam, she began asking questions about the war and about the medics' jobs. Her actions reflected the initial curiosity some of the soldiers experienced before they were exposed the war's harsh conditions. She becomes more and more involved with the war as time continued and eventually abandoned the medics, including her boyfriend Mark Fossie, in order to go on ambushes with the Green Berets. Ultimately, she is found wearing a necklace of human tongues and engaging in some tribal ritual. Her obsession with the war had drained her innocence, and she had been changed drastically from what she was when she first set foot in Vietnam. Mary Anne's character was a representation of the impact of the war. Vietnam stipped the soldiers of their innocence and created irreversible changes in their personality.

I agree with what you said about her being an "addict," but I also believe that the addictive properties the war had on Mary Anne Bell also reflected an addiction found in many of the soldiers throughout the war rather than just one person.


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