THE THINGS THEY CARRIED
Here it is bitches, the book notes and recaps for Tim's book. It's not a novel mind you, it's a collection of short stories (short story cycle). This is a really amazing book. I'll admit that Hemingway was boring as hell, and I was sorry I even wasted time with his book, but this one is pure gold. I would urge you to read every damn page of this. Burn Hemingway and all the other garbage you get assigned, but this one is awesome. Ok, enough with the intro, here it is.
I was recently schooled by XOSHA, an avid fan of the book and one of my best friends, about some information I failed to have up here. A little bit of it we covered in class, and the rest was new to me. "At the begining of the book O'Brien writes 'This is a work of fiction. Except for a few details regarding the author's own life, all incidents, names, and characters are immaginary.' However, the intire book is about the author's own life and the book is dedicated to the characters in it. Also, Tim O'Brien does not have a daughter, never worked at a meatpacking plant, and never went to the rainy river." There you have it. Thanks goes to XOSHA for this insider information.
Tim = Narrator
(*) = Page of importance
--- = Line break in the book
Chapter One – The Things They Carried
1 – Jimmy Cross kept letters from his love, Martha, in his rucksack.
2 – The normal weight of things carried was 15 to 20 pounds.
3 – All the men carried personal effects, 15.8 pounds of additional gear.
4 – Everyone carried thoughts with him when he marched. Cross carried photos of Martha, and remembered back about her constantly.
5 – The men carried different guns depending on rank. Some were really heavy.
6 – Ted Lavender was shot and just dropped like cement. They smoked his dope.
7 – Men would also carry anything they found that could kill. Tons of guns.
8 – Martha sent Cross a pebble (see recap). He carried it in his mouth.
9 – In dangerous places, they would take turns humping (walking) a mine detector.
10 – Sometimes they had to explore and then destroy tunnels. Unnerving.
11 – Lee Strunk drew the number 17 and had to go into a tunnel and look.
12 – When Strunk came out, Ted was headshotted. “omfg you hacker”
13 – Mitchell Sanders cut the thumb off a corpse and gave it to Norman Bowker as a gift.
14 – They carried disease, infection, bugs, memories, Vietnam itself.
15 – They just marched aimlessly, messing up villages and moving on.
16 – Helicopters would always bring more supplies, so they never ran out. When Ted died they totally pwned a village. Cross cried for Ted, himself, and Martha.
17 – Kiowa kept talking about how Ted dropped like cement when he was shot.
18 – Kiowa wanted to feel grief, but could only feel surprise and comfort.
19 – There were always times of panic, after firefights. Guys would cool down.
20 – To hide their fear, they told jokes and rode things off. Laughed about death.
21 – Then men marched to avoid dishonor. You could puss out, but you were a coward.
22 – Hated men that shot themselves to go home. They would dream of flying home.
23 – Cross stops his blubbering and burns Martha’s pictures and letters.
24 – He cut the crap and dealt with reality. He hated Martha. He was a soldier.
25 – Cross was cleaning up his act. He was going to run a tight group, no shit.
26 – It was his job not to love, but to lead.
Recap – This is a chapter about all the things the men carried, both physical and mental. We focus mostly on Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, who is the leader of the group we look into. He pretty much pitches and bitch every page about his love, but then finally gets his head out of his ass. There is no room for the cloud of love. When you weren’t a soldier, people died. Cross knew he had to step up his game, and lead his men. The pebble he got from Martha represented “separate yet togetherness” because she found it where the water met the shore in Jersey. We can see from that that Martha was not a part of Cross’ life as a soldier.
Chapter Two – Love
27 – Cross visited with Tim and they remembered the war. Cross still blamed himself for Ted’s death. Never goes away.
28 – Cross had a new picture from Martha. She would never marry. He didn’t know her.
29 – Martha turned out to be a lesbian ( I think). Cross still loved her.
30 – Tim told Cross he wanted to make a book about all this, and Cross said not to mention a certain something. We never find out what it is.
Recap – Now that is fucking genius writing. Flaunting something in our faces that we can never have. O how it bugs me, yet I’m intrigued as to what it was. Those guys were so brave, and did things that people shouldn’t have to. I wonder what it was. I wonder if we will know. Yet, some things are better left unsaid. Our imagination creates far worse nightmares than the skeletons. If you get that last line, talk to me, you’ll get a cookie.
Chapter Three – Spin
31 – Azar gave chocolate to a one-legged kid. Sanders picked lice off his body.
32 – Bowker and Henry would play checkers. There were rules, in war there weren’t.
33 – The troops found an old man to lead them through a minefield. It was cool.
34 – It was a nervous boredom. You could die at any time.
35 – Tim can’t stop the memories. One dude went AWOL but came back to kill.
36 – Bowker wished his dad didn’t expect medals. Kiowa taught rain dances, and Ted found a dog until Azar blew it up. lol omg, those boys.
37 – Tim remembers so many little things. All the guys were 19-20 years old.
38 – Remembering makes it now. A story will last forever.
Recap – This is a chapter about the little things that Tim remembers, mostly positive or humorous things. It’s pretty cool, but also sad. These guys were so young, and faced with death, they were still boys. They still did boy things. It’s amazing. Did I mention I love this book? I want its babies.
Chapter Four – On the Rainy River
39 – Tim talks about confessing a really traumatic story.
40 – Tim felt that the United States didn’t know why they were fighting the war.
41 – Tim never felt a part of the war until he was drafted. He felt above it.
42 – 1968, Tim spent his summer “declotting” pig carcasses.
43 – Tim’s life was falling towards slaughter. There was no way out.
44 – He could go to Canada to avoid death, but he would be exiled from his own life.
45 – No one really understood the history, and didn’t want to. You had to fight evil.
46 – Tim felt broken, and left his job one day and packed his bags.
47 – While driving to Canada, Tim took in all the sensory data of life. Tasting it.
48 – He went to the Tip Top Lodge, and Elroy Berdahl “saved him”.
49 – Elroy didn’t talk much, but was very intelligent; accepted Tim in his routine.
50 – Tim was distraught. He loved his mainstream life, and was leaving it forever.
51 – Elroy knew that words were no longer going to help. Reason couldn’t help this.
52 – Tim was ashamed. Elroy talked about the bill, and the odd jobs Tim had done.
53 – Tim explained his last job. Elroy figured he owed Tim money.
54 – Tim felt like the whole time, he was out of his skin. It wasn’t real.
55 – On the sixth day, Elroy took Tim fishing right inside Canada waters.
56 – He sat at the end of the boat, his body in upheaval. He began to cry.
57 – Tim was not brave; he did not swim to shore. He felt helpless. He was weak.
58 – Tim’s thoughts ran rampant, he imagined so many different people back on shore.
59 – He would go to war, because he was embarrassed not to. He was not brave.
60 – Tim left Elroy and left the money at the lodge.
61 – Tim went to war because he was a coward.
Recap – Amazing. For the love of Leibowitz, this book is amazing. Some of the details and the feelings that this man gives makes you really feel them too. Page 58 is good, and encompasses all the racing thoughts he felt inside. When you really look at the whole situation, a kid is about to leave his life forever. How can you expect him to do that? You can’t, that was rhetorical you bitch. The way he writes is interesting, and how he portrays memory also keeps the story flowing. Ok. From now on, I’ll cool it on the praise, and actually sum up what happens. Tim gets drafted and feels like he is above the war. No one really knows why the men fight, it’s just blind patriotism. Tim knows it’s wrong and wants to flee, but he is too weak and embarrassed to, even though it is the right thing to do. He eventually breaks and goes to war.
Chapter Five – Enemies
62 – Dave Jensen had a fistfight with Lee Strunk and beat him senseless. Broke his nose.
63 – Dave got super paranoid and always thought Lee would get him back.
64 – Dave broke his own nose so they were square. Lee had stolen his knife and laughed.
Recap – This was a really funny story. it shows the power of the mind, even your own, to mess with you. Lee stole Dave’s knife, and got beat for it, and Dave was the one that felt all the paranoia. Awesome.
Chapter Six – Friends
65 – The two made a pack that if one got really hurt, the other would kill him. Lee Strunk stepped on a mortar and lost his right leg.
66 – Lee didn’t want Dave to kill him. He didn’t, but Lee died later on. Dave was glad.
Recap – The two made a pack to kill the other if he suffered a “wheelchair wound”. When it happened to Lee, like every mortal, he clung to whatever life he could get. Dave felt bad because it happened and he didn’t get to live up to his promise. When Lee died later on, Dave was relieved for both Lee and himself.
Chapter Seven – How to Tell a True War Story
67 – Rat Kiley writes a letter to his dead friend’s sister, to give her closure.
68 – Rat really pours out his heart, and she never writes back.
69 – A real war novel shows no virtue or common good. War is all bad.
70 – Curt Lemon died by stepping on a mine while playing with Rat.
71 – The craziness is true, but the normal stuff isn’t. War is almost unexplainable.
72 – There was a story from Sanders that these men were on a mountain listening.
73 – They heard this weird gook music, and they couldn’t speak, only listen.
74 – It’s driving the nuts, and so they call in firepower and bomb the shit out.
75 – They return and a dude wants answers, but they say nothing.
76 – Sanders said that you have to listen to your enemy.
77 – A true war story makes the stomach believe it. It is deep. It is hell.
78 – The platoon found a buffalo, and Rat Kiley shot the shit out of it. Torture.
79 – Rat went off crying. There wasn’t a name for what had just happened. So true.
80 – War is everything, and contradictory. Beauty and ugliness. Good and evil.
81 – You feel most alive when closest to death. You love everything again.
82 – Even though the war is over, you still wonder what the point is.
83 – (Read this page, last paragraph, and onto the next page. Important point)
84 – Some people want Tim to forget and move on, make new memories.
85 – It’s not a war story, it’s a love story. You have to keep on telling it.
Recap – This is a really deep chapter towards the end. We start out with some more humorous stories, but then we get into some serious shit. Rat Kiley torturing the buffalo; what is that? Really think about it. Think about the mental anguish he was under to do something like that. Tim talks a lot about “trueness” of a war story. Read from pages 83-85. I have a few times, and still don’t fully comprehend it. Maybe you can understand it. I’m going to keep trying though.
Chapter Eight – The Dentist
86 – Lemon had a pretty cocky attitude; Tim didn’t mourn him much.
87 – A dentist had come to check the teeth of the men, and Lemon was scared.
88 – After he fainted, he went back and had a tooth removed to prove he could.
Recap – lol omg, that Lemon, what a guy. I wonder what happened to him to make him so scared of dentists. He said “torture chamber” stuff. Man o man.
Chapter Nine – Sweetheart of the Tra Bong
89 – Rat would exaggerate stories so you could maybe feel what he felt. Excitement.
90 – Rat told a story about how a soldier had his girlfriend shipped over to Nam.
91 – Rat used to work in a small medical attachment; overlooking Song Tra Bong.
92 – It seemed safe, and Rat liked it. Not a lot of rules. Green Berets were close by.
93 – They thought about getting hookers, and then Mark Fossie flew his girlfriend in.
94 – Mary Anne Bell was 17, and the two were happy. Sweethearts.
95 – Mary would keep morale high with the men and everyone liked her; a curious girl.
96 – Mary visited a village and was enamored with the whole ambiance. (lol big words)
97 – She was innocent, but like everyone else, she would learn. That was the sad part.
98 – She learned medical procedures, how to live simply, and how to use a weapon.
99 – Mary got more and more tough, like the environment was hardening her.
100 – Mary was gone one night, and Fossie suspected she was sleeping with someone.
101 – They searched the entire compound, and found absolutely no trace of her.
102 – Mary returned one morning with the Green Berets. She went on an ambush.
103 – Fossie would propose to Mary if she stopped fighting in the war. She agreed.
104 – The two seemed on edge, untrusting. Fossie wanted to send her back home.
105 – Mary left with the Berets again, and didn’t return for 3 weeks. Hearty bitch.
106 – Rat saw her return. She seemed cold. Stayed with the Green Berets. (*)
107 – Fossie sat outside the Green Berets’ quarters, waiting for Mary. (*)
108 – A strange music and singing could be heard from the Green Berets’ tent.
109 – Fossie went barging in, thinking it was Mary. The place smelled of death.
110 – Read this page, the tent is absolutely sick. Mary had a tongue necklace.
111 – She says Fossie is missing the true war. Mary feels alive when she kills.
112 – She was lost. Rat told this story to Sanders; he didn’t know what happened next.
113 – Rat met up with Diamond later and heard more about the story.
114 – Mary truly tasted the war, and was addicted. Feeling alive near death. She knew.
115 – The Greenies said Mary had left into the forest. She was crazy with bloodlust.
116 – She was dangerous, and no one could prove she was dead.
Recap – A very long chapter, but I didn’t want it to end. What a book. In this chapter, we get to learn about a girl, Mary Anne Bell, who was consumed by Vietnam. This is important because it shows that man or woman has no difference when it comes to war. Both can be destroyed. Mary felt most alive when she killed. It only took her a few weeks in hell to be transformed. Read pages 106-107 to get some insight into how Rat told his story. Injecting his opinions into the mix ruined the flow, according to Sanders. There is something else about Mary to consider. When the men went home, none of the women would ever understand what they went through. You can’t convey those feelings with words. Rat loved Mary because she knew. She knew what it was all about. Damn, what a fucking sweet book. By the way, if there had to be an alternate title for this book, it would be There’s Something About Mary. lol omfg, get it?
Chapter Ten – Stockings
117 – Henry Dobbins always kept his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck.
118 – The stockings made him invulnerable. She dumped him, but he still wore them.
Recap – Magic and superstition is a powerful ally when your mind plays tricks on you. Those guys went through so much, and when you felt like there was a visible, material sign of safety, they ate it up. Look at the size of Chapter Nine to Chapter Ten. Chapter Nine definitely has a bigger penis.
Chapter Eleven – Church
119 – The men found a Church a used it as a base. The monks were hospitable.
120 – The monks worshipped Henry, and he thought about coming back to them.
121 – Henry didn’t worry about the religious aspect, just being nice to people.
122 – Kiowa never wanted to be a minister. He didn’t like that they were in a church.
123 – Henry agrees, and says all they can do is treat them decent.
Recap – Here we get into the subject of religion. Henry likes the part about treating people decently, but gets flustered by the religious part and sermons and thinking. He couldn’t see how you could explain the bad things of the world. Neither of them liked being in the church. Henry is a decent guy; I can see why the monks worshipped him.
Chapter Twelve – The Man I Killed
124 – Tim describes a man that he killed. Read it if you want.
125 – Tim says that the guy was just defending his land. He was just a human being.
126 – Tim just stared at the body. Kiowa tried to make him feel better. It was a war.
127 – More about what the man could have been like. Everyone has a life.
128 – Tim was entranced. He felt so horrible. He had ended a life, just like his own.
129 – It was a good kill; they got ammunition. Kiowa still tried to cheer him up.
130 – Tim wouldn’t talk; he just stared. Kiowa was frustrated.
Recap – GEEZ. Amazing. Tim really makes you feel like you were the one that just killed the guy. He repeats the observations just like it would happen in real life. You would sit there and run through ideas multiple times. Just brilliant. Go home Tim, you’ve already shown us you rock. If you only read one chapter, read this one, I guess.
Chapter Thirteen – Ambush
131 – Kathleen asked Tim if he had ever killed anyone. He said no to her, she was a girl.
132 – Kiowa and Tim were on watch, a soldier arrived, and Tim grabbed a grenade.
133 – It was automatic, and Tim killed the soldier. Didn’t really think about it.
134 – Tim feels bad; maybe he didn’t have to kill him.
Recap – Tim focuses on the man he killed again, but we get more detail as to the events that led up to the kill. Tim said that it all happened quickly and habitually; he didn’t have to tell himself to kill the man, he just did it. Even now, he questions as to the fact if he really had to kill the guy. Maybe, if he just let the man pass, all would have been well.
Chapter Fourteen – Style
135 – The men had burned a village and killed a family, but there was a girl that danced.
136 – Azar mocked the little girl, and Henry picked him up and threatened him.
Recap – A small village girl, in the midst of death and destruction; dances. Azar does not understand this at all, but Henry simply sees it and accepts it for what it is. When Azar mocks the girl and her dancing, Henry makes him apologize. There was just something about the dancing; maybe an innocence or beauty that couldn’t be driven away by evil, and Henry felt Azar didn’t have any right to make fun of it.
Chapter Fifteen – Speaking of Courage
137 – Norman returned home after the war, drove around the streets.
138 – There was a big lake, a constant in life. His friend Max Arnold drowned in it.
139 – Norman thought about Sally Kramer, but she had married. He was odd man out.
140 – He just wanted to stop by and talk with her lightly. He almost won the Silver Star.
141 – Norman wished his dad cared about his other medals, or talked with him.
142 – He would have explained the Song Tra Bong River, and how it would overflow.
143 – The whole town didn’t want to hear about the war, it didn’t care.
144 – The platoon was in a field, mama-sans tried to warn them, but no use.
145 – It turns out, they had set up camp in the village shit field. Literally.
146 – He wished his father were here to listen. Anyone. He kept driving on.
147 – Courage sometimes comes in degrees; it’s not always constant. (*)
148 – The platoon took mortar fire in the shit field; the smell was outrageous.
149 – Kiowa had been hit; he sank into the shit. Norman almost saved him.
150 – This town didn’t want to hear about the war. He felt invisible.
151 – Norman went to eat, but everything was different. He was out of the loop.
152 – Norman was done, and the intercom guy wanted to hear his story. No deal.
153 – he felt like he was part of the waste from the war. He had no place.
154 – Norman knew Kiowa wasn’t dead when he went under, and Norman lost him.
Recap – This is a chapter much like Chapter Eight Soldier’s Home in Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time. We get a look at a soldier that comes home from war, and no one wants to hear about the stories, or feel the feelings. The soldiers are the waste from the war; leftovers, and they just have to get along and forget. This is a really deep chapter because we understand what courage is. (Read page 147 for a good explanation) Also, he said that sometimes the bravest men get no medals, and others get medals for doing nothing. The story about the shit field is amazing. Can you even imagine what those men went through? Or what Kiowa went through? Sinking into a field of shit, and dying on the bottom. Upon returning home, Norman feels out of place. He has lost years of his life, and readjusting back into society is hard, if not impossible.
Chapter Sixteen – Notes
155 – Norman hung himself later. He could not rejoin society. It was not war.
156 – He felt liked he died with Kiowa. He wasn’t complaining. It was fact.
157 – Tim readjusted, but it broke his heart that Norman was seizing.
158 – Tim didn’t write for therapy, but he felt like he needed to do this for Norman.
159 – Tim tried to put it in a novel, and failed. He didn’t do it justice. It lost the truth.
160 – Norman hung himself. Tim wrote the truth, the whole story. It was his duty.
161 – It was not Norman who let Kiowa go, or lost the medal, it was Tim.
Recap – Bitches, I pretty much try and keep up the illusion that I’m a badass and stuff, but this chapter almost made me cry. No joke. You really get the feeling of what Norman and Tim went through. The last two pages especially and effectively made the chapter. Amazing. What a book. Tim learns that true war stories can’t be toned down to fit into nice little nooks, you have to be truer than shit and let the stories be. It’s the only way you can do them justice.
Chapter Seventeen – In The Field
162 – The platoon of 18 soldiers searched the shit field for Kiowa’s body.
163 – Jimmy Cross would not leave such a good man buried under shit.
164 – Cross felt responsible for setting camp in the field, and so low.
165 – Azar, Norman, and Sanders, searched the field together with their feet.
166 – Norman found Kiowa’s rucksack, and knew he was close. They were mad at Cross.
167 – Cross did not want to be there, he did not want the responsibility of leadership.
168 – Cross should have followed his impulses, but it was a mistake. That’s all.
169 – He would write a letter to Kiowa’s father, taking responsibility for the blunder.
170 – Tim was searching in the field. He had turned on his flashlight, causing the mortar.
171 – Tim was to blame. Cross saw him looking frantically and approached him.
172 – Tim was looking for his picture of Billie, a girl. Not for Kiowa. wtf?
173 – Norman found Kiowa’s body. Azar and Sanders helped him.
174 – Henry and Rat came to help pull, but Kiowa was stuck. They didn’t tell Cross.
175 – They got him out and called the chopper. The men were happy to be alive.
176 – Cross still looked, and Tim wanted to confess about what had happened.
177 – Cross didn’t want to take responsibility. Anyone could be blamed for Kiowa.
178 – He dreamed of being on a golf course, worrying about nothing.
Recap – Jimmy Cross is such a loser. Just suck it up. He doesn’t like his responsibly and vacillates between accepting his job or just blaming everything else under the sun. It wasn’t too bright to set up camp in the field, but he didn’t know. He felt like he should have followed his instincts, but hindsight is always 20/20. It was odd though that Tim, the one would was mostly responsible for the bad events and Kiowa’s death, doesn’t even help look for the guy. He cares more about his picture of Billie. Look, no girl is that hot, except for NR. Maybe it was a defense mechanism, since he had caused the death of his friend.
Chapter Eighteen – Good Form
179 – Tim really hadn’t killed anyone. But his presence was guilt enough.
180 – There was happening-truth, and there was story-truth. Makes the story present.
Recap – Genius. No, I didn’t spell Guinness wrong; I spelled genius. Tim totally blew me away with this chapter. There was a past reference to this kind of idea, like, a true lie. I’ll look back and find it later. This little chapter really packs a punch though. Some of the chapters we have read, Tim tells us are false. They never happened. But they are true. They convey the true feelings of the war. How can that be false? It can’t you tool. That was a rhetorical question. Damn though, really think about this. How outside the box is this? Amazing. I bet Tim has X-ray vision too. I wouldn’t be surprised. One thought though. This chapter would be really kickass at the end of the book. Since all the stories are called into question as to their happening-truth, any stories we read from now on in the book are assumed to be fake. I think if we read the whole book in ignorance and took the facts as truth and felt the feelings, revealing it at the end would make this idea really concrete. That's just Hunk though.
Chapter Nineteen – Field Trip
181 – Tim and his daughter returned to the field 20 years later.
182 – She didn’t understand why they were there. It was not very menacing.
183 – She was confused about the war, and asked why Tim won’t just forget it.
184 – Returning to the field, Tim felt no emotion, like it was all gone, in the mud.
185 – Nam had sucked away his feelings. He went to the river and took off his socks.
186 – Kathleen said Tim was crazy. He was in the mush river, where Kiowa’s sack was.
187 – Tim sat in the river, and experienced something. (open and shut) (*)
188 – An old man looked at Tim. Kathleen thought he was mad, but it was all over.
Recap – Tim returned to the shit field to try and revisit his past. The field was nothing like he remembered; not nearly as dangerous or intimidating as it once was. The war was over. The danger was over. He sat in the river to try to come to peace. Read page 187 and see if you can understand what he is talking about. You can’t go back, you just have to live and tell your story. Maybe this is what it means. The places change, but the feelings live forever.
Chapter Twenty – The Ghost Soldiers
189 – Tim had been shot, and Rat Kiley kept him alive until the chopper got him.
190 – When he was shot again, Rat was in Japan, and Bobby screwed up the patch job.
191 – Getting shot is an experience. Shouldn’t be humiliated. Tim was reassigned.
192 – He missed the bloodlust with his brothers. He wanted to hurt Bobby Jorgenson.
193 – Some of the old boys stopped by. Sanders, Azar, Henry, Norman, and Dave Jensen.
194 – On a hot day, Morty went for a swim in a river, without telling anyone.
195 – A few days later, he is deathly sick. Bobby said he got something from the water.
196 – He wasted all his luck on a swim, and he was overdue for bad things.
197 – Tim wanted revenge, but Sanders said Bobby was one of them now.
198 – Tim wasn’t a soldier, and he felt betrayed. Bobby waited for Tim one day.
199 – Bobby was scared that day, he felt really bad about what he did to Tim.
200 – Even with his education, Tim grew cold inside, and was capable of evil. (*)
201 – Bobby almost killed him. There had to be revenge. He got Azar to help him.
202 – Nam had ghosts. “Charlie Cong”. The night came alive, and spooked you.
203 – When Tim saw Bobby with the guys, he knew he had to get him back.
204 – Time and Azar scouted out Bobby’s night watch bunker and planned a prank.
205 – The night and darkness really messes with your mind. Illusionary fear.
206 – Tim and Azar waited for a bit, then moved out to Bobby’s position.
207 – Tim and Azar had ropes that made noise when they pulled them.
208 – They had made noisemakers, and scared Bobby like that for 10 minutes.
209 – With the power of fear, Tim felt invincible, he was evil; he was Nam.
210 – They waited a bit more, and then went back to the noise, and flares too.
211 – Tim knew Bobby felt fear, and Tim could read his mind. They shared it. (*)
212 – Tim wanted to stop there, but Azar wanted to finish the whole plan.
213 – Tim remembered when he was hit, he smelled himself dying, and felt his soul.
214 – Nam was like a spirit world, Tim almost died, having an out of body experience.
215 – Azar pulled the ropes, threw gas grenades, and made a ghost puppet dance.
216 – Bobby wasn’t spooked; he knew it was O’Brien. Azar kicked Tim in the head.
217 – Bobby took care of Tim, and they said they were even and sorry.
218 – Tim asked Bobby if he wanted to kill Azar.
Recap – This is a pretty tough chapter for Tim. Starting off, Tim realizes that he is no longer a part of the squad, and that Bobby, who had previously hurt him, now took his place (in a sense). Tim felt isolated from his friends, and he was stuck with the pain from Bobby’s foul up. The response? The common human burning of revenge. Teaming up with Azar, the two set up noise makers, flares, and ghost outside of Bobby’s post. Using nightfall to help aid in their prank, they scared the crap out of Bobby. Tim felt powerful because for an instant he could read Bobby’s mind and knew his fear. Bobby eventually stood up and said fuck it and busted Tim. Azar kicked Tim in the head for being a pussy, and Bobby helped Tim with his wound. They shook hands and were square.
Chapter Twenty-One – Night Life
219 – Spending huge amounts of time moving at night, Rat Kiley couldn’t adjust.
220 – The night was really spooky and constricting. Rat started to crack and talk a lot.
221 – Nam became alive and talked to you. There was a lot of freaky shit.
222 – Rat couldn’t get the pictures of blood, gore, and death out of his head.
223 – He couldn’t take the morbid thoughts, so he shot himself in the foot.
224 – Cross said he would vouch that it was an accident, Rat went to Japan.
Recap – We get to learn more about what happened to Rat and about how Nam can make people feel. Rat was a medic, and therefore he couldn’t keep intensely morbid and morose thoughts out of his head. He started to go nuts and couldn’t handle the night marches. He shot himself in the foot and got out of there.
Chapter Twenty-Two – The Lives of the Dead
225 – The platoon took sniper fire, and Cross ordered a strike on the village.
226 – There was a dead man, and everyone shook his hand, except for Tim. It being his fourth day, he couldn’t believe the idea of greeting the dead.
227 – Kiowa came and talked to Tim, told him he would get used to the death.
228 – Tim loved Linda when they were both 9. It was true love.
229 – Going on a date with her and his parents, he couldn’t really say anything to her.
230 – Telling a dream, you relive it as a dream, and others might dream with you.
231 – When Ted was shot and killed, everyone joked to try and make it easier to bear.
232 – With Linda, they watched the movie. In the movie, a dead man was thrown overboard, and Tim can still hear the splash. It’s sickening.
233 – Linda and Tim said goodbye after their date. At school Nick Veenhof kept trying to steal Linda’s cap.
234 – Tim wished he would have stood up for her or showed bravery.
235 – Nick stole Linda’s hat, and she was bald. She had stitches on her head. L
236 – Tim wanted to save her life, not her body. When he writes about her, he can steal her back, at least for a moment.
237 – Tim could not fit his mind around the idea of death. He found out she died, and went home to think. He didn’t really come to peace, he just floated, and imagined.
238 – In Nam, people had ways and jokes to put death a little farther away from them. (*)
239 – They talked about how Curt Lemon went trick-or-treating. The story stayed the same, but people added more details. Even though he was dead, he seemed alive.
240 – Tim wanted to view Linda’s body; his dad took him.
241 – The corpse looked big and bloated, like a mistake had been made.
242 – She was dead, there was no getting around it. Nam was filled with death, and there was no escape. He had to get Curt Lemon down from a tree, had Kiowa sink into muck, and had to clean up enemy KIAs.
243 – Tim kept making up elaborate stories to keep Linda alive.
244 – Even then, Tim practiced the magic of story telling. (*)
245 – While Tim knows these people are dead, he can still bring them back with writing. They aren’t the same, maybe knew identities, but they are still alive.
246 – Thirty years later, Tim is trying to save Timmy’s life with a story.
Recap – I really don’t know what to say. This book was utterly amazing. Hands down, no jokes, the best book I have read. It’s inspired me to incorporate this style of writing into my own work, which is something you probably don’t give a flying fuck about, so back to the recap. In this last chapter, we understand why Tim writes. When you tell a story, you can bring back the dead, and have the living dream with you. Where else can you find such a power? You can’t, that was rhetorical you wad.
Ok bitches, I have no one to thank for this one, except myself, so thanks Hunk. This was an awesome book, and my notes just don't do it justice. With the Everything in its Path book, I think my notes were way better than the book, but they pale in comparison with O'Brien's writing. They should you know, if a writer is anywhere near respectable. I'm done taking notes for awhile. I'm having a guest writer do the next set of notes for my next book, so we'll see who's better. Over and out you whores.