When Jimmy Cross understands that Ted Lavender is really dead, he has now realised that he might have prevented it his whole outlook changes. Before, he couldn't get Martha out of his head. He was a daydreamer and a lover more than he was a soldier, and he thought often about that. But afterward, he understands that when someone dies, that can't be changed. It makes him realize his duty, and he is suddenly able to distance himself from everything that used to be important in his life. He understands that he is now living in another world and that he is a soldier whether he wants to be or not. Chapter 3
The lack of a purpose sometimes drives the men crazy. They feel that there is no definite morality to what they are doing. They become desperate for anything, even a game of checkers, which has a definite winner and loser. Their own wartime life seems endless, repetitive, boring and terrifyingly pointless. Tim is unable to forget even the tiniest details from Vietnam. They play out in his memory and in his writing over and over, and he is helpless to contain them. Writing about the war is his link between the past and the future, he says. And the terrible and beautiful things he saw in Vietnam will be with him forever. Chapter 5
Dave Jensen becomes unable to tell what is right and what is wrong. He has been fighting Vietnamese for so long that when he begins to fight with someone from his own side, he goes a little crazy. He thinks he has to make up for the way he hurt Lee Strunk, when even Strunk believes he had every right to hurt him. Chapter 7
Rat Kiley cannot deal with the fact that his best friend is dead, so suddenly and without any reason behind it. He tries to explain how he feels to his friend's sister, and when she doesn't respond, he directs all his fury and hopelessness at her. He is nineteen, but war has made him vulgar, and a killer.
Mary Anne Bell, who was only in Vietnam a few months, lost herself in the country....