I need a 100 word response for each of these short forum posts. Each one is numbered where the new one starts. It doesn’t have to be extravagant just a simple response to each one. Each response should be separated and numbered 1,2,3 & 4.
1. 100 word response
The first work I choose was “Going After Cacciato”. This was a very obvious selection since I am also in the military and can relate too much of what Private First Class Paul Berlin was going through in this chapter of the book. One line that stood out to me was “Private First Class Paul Berlin lay quietly with his forehead on the black plastic stock of his riffle” (O’Brien). This line from the story is one that I can relate too and I am sure many other men and women that have severed in the military. Closing your eyes and imaging that you are somewhere else to help you to your mind off the moment or to make the time go by quicker.
The author I choose for this section was Tim O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien again was a logical choice because he is very easy for me to relate to in many of his writings. Mr. O’Brien came from a small town and after finishing college was drafted into the U.S. Army. During his time in the military he meet many people and the memories of those individuals are reflected in his stories (Tim O’Brien | American Author). What stuck out to me as reflective of his work was his time in the military. He is able to put himself in their boots because he also experienced those emotions. The line “the platoon of thirty two soldiers moved slowly in the dark, single file, not talking” (O’Brien), form his writings is an example of his time in the Vietnam War.
If I did not know how the story ended I would guess that it would not have had a happy ending. “Some of them are excited by the adventure, some afraid, some exhausted by the long march, some of them looking forward to reaching the sea where they would be safe” (O’Brien). They were looking for a deserter who went AWOL which has put these young men in harm’s way. The line, “You will, You got a terrific sense of humor” (O’Brien). I think the message that he is conveying to Berlin is that mentally he will survive this war and his humor will be a way that he can cope with the brutality that is going on around him.
2. 100 word response
Part I- The relationship that I found particularly intriguing was that between Mrs. Hopewell and Mrs. Freeman. This relationship simply put is structured as employer-employee. It should be pretty straightforward, except the authority of daily activities is passed from Mrs. Hopewell to Mrs. Freeman. Mrs. Hopewell says “she would see to it that she is into everything” (169). This is in reference to Mrs. Freeman and her personality traits of being nosey and involved in everyone’s business. This is why I find this relationship so interesting. Mrs. Hopewell has a keen ability to see the best in everyone, allowing these characters to work together throughout the story.
Part II- For part two I chose Joyce Carol Oates. According to her biography she makes a surreal connection between love and violence. Although these two concepts seemingly conflict with one another, it can be detected in her story “Blonde” in many instances. The very end of the story states “…the world continues without us, even as it calls our name” (69). This doesn’t represent the conventional idea of violence, but rather, the volatile reality of existence which in itself causes internal violence. I found that closing line to be particularly powerful to the meaning of the story, and referenced her writing style as outlined in her biography.
Part III- There is a paragraph towards the end of the chapter on page 216 in which O’Brien is describing Billy Boy and how he went crazy and died from fright. O’Brien says “and Billy Boy couldn’t get the boot on, because it was already on.” This statement is valuable when considering the details surrounding Paul Berlin on the following two pages. The details are eluding to a similar fate for Paul, thus my opinion is that this story will repeat this theme for more soldiers before they can all get home from the war.
3. 100 word response
The story that stood out to me the most was “Good Country People” by Flannery ‘Connor. This story stood out to me because of the character by the name of Hulga formerly known as Joy. Throughout the story, the author presents to us how highly Mrs. Freeman thought of her baby girl, all though many times she forgot she was an adult. Joy had lost her leg at the age of ten in a hunting accident, but it never truly slowed her down (not in the books anyway). Joy had grown to become a very educated individual, which led to her obtaining her PhD. With her being this book smart, she tended to look at men as if she was above them. As mentioned in the story, “She looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity” (O’Connor). Eventually, Hulga met her match with the young man who pretended to sell bibles. He tricks her and cons her out of her very own prosthetic leg. This resonated with me simply because I’ve had several situations where people truly believed that because they may very well be academically smarter than me in some aspect that they would be able to pull wool over my eyes. Never let your guards down because you never know what someone may be capable of.
PART II: Flannery O’Connor truly surprised me with her background in comparison to her stories. Per her biography, she was an extreme catholic who wrapped her life up in her mother and her writings. Despite the outlandish realism she wrote about, she was a very sheltered individual. In reading such as the one previously mentioned “Good Country People”, it relates to people of the south (where she resided) and their day to day realities. In the book, it mentions how the characters were young and married with children, which is something O’Connor never experienced herself. In the audio biography I listened to, the author mentioned, “Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic” (Youtube.com). I believe that statement within itself showed the type of honesty that would be portrayed in O’Connors short stories.
In O’brien’s story, there was a lot of back and forth between fantasy and reality while he stood on his guard post. The sole purpose of his daydreams was the moment that he caught Caciatto, but it was never his reality. Through these day dreams, there was a boy with a round face that Paul could never make out, but he continuously mentioned how he conversed with this soldier. The boy kept mentioning how the Doc knew for a fact it was not a wound that killed Billy Boy, but his fear, that resulted in a heart attack. Due to the ending of the story, I would assume that that would be Paul’s ending as well because he kept having the thought of it. Fear alone is what would end up being Paul’s demise.
4. 100 word response
In Theodore Roethke’s poem, “My Papa’s Waltz”, the author describes special moments between a boy and his father. There’s conflict between the boy, Roethke, and his father. Roethke writes, “The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy” (1). Roethke appears to be uncomfortable with his dad’s drinking.
The story, “Blonde” by Joyce Oates, contains elements of conflict between the characters, Joyce and Robin, her baby brother. Oates writes, “I was the baby, much admired, fussed over and hugged, how I could have comprehended the possibility of a day, an hour, when I was no longer the baby” (66). Joyce isn’t too fond of the fact that she is no longer the baby.
I really enjoyed reading Tim O’Brien’s story, “Going after Cacciato”. O’Brien is a US Army Veteran who fought in Vietnam (Britannica). This is reflective in his work. The narrator describes the sights and smells of Vietnam, and the things going on during the patrol. O’Brien writes, “One by one the soldiers knelt and squatted down. The grass along the path was wet” (212). The author provides vivid descriptions of the soldiers’ tactics and their surroundings. This adds authenticity to O’Brien’s story. The soldier Berlin is near to Cacciato during the patrols. Perhaps shocked by another soldier’s incident with a landmine, Berlin experiences a moment where he laughs hysterically at the war and Billy’s heart attack. The author describes the ordeal, “But Paul Berlin was shaking with the giggles: scared to death on the field of battle” (215). It is the reaction of Berlin that leads to Cacciato’s comment, “You will. You got a terrific sense of humor” (O’Brien 218). Berlin is able to laugh instead of crying with fear.
Cacciato is a weird and perhaps crazy character. He’s very garrulous and repeats the same things over and over again. The two soldiers, Cacciato and Berlin, converse during a patrol through the jungle. Berlin haves a moment where he laughs hysterically at Billy who died of a heart attack. Obrien writes, “You will. You got a terrific sense of humor (218)”. This gives Cacciato the impression that Berlin has the temperament to make it out of Vietnam. Cacciato, on the other hand, seems like the type of soldier to get into trouble in the combat environment. I get the impression that his mental disorder will be exacerbated by war, causing him to do something “crazy”.