Going After Cacciato

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Going After Cacciato, an epic novel written by Tim O'Brien, is about a platoon of men going away without leave (AWOL) searching for a young man named Cacciato in the imagination of a man of the platoon named Paul Berlin. In Going After Cacciato the "tea party," between the AWOL platoon and Li Van Hgoc contributes greatly to the novel by adding to the confusion and teaching the reader how to deal with the war and the 'noise.'

The first thing that this "tea party" does is that it introduces the reader to Li Van Hgoc. The response of Paul Berlin to Li Van Hgoc and his party was a "falling feeling, a slipping, and . . . being high in the tower by the sea." This sets the novel as never truly being stable, but as "slipping" and "falling." Li Van Hgoc helps to establish the confusion in Going After Cacciato. He shows the madness of people during wartime, the madness of war, and the madness of the world.

Since this, "tea party," is an obvious allusion to Alice in Wonderland, it also helps to add to the ‘noise' and confusion of the novel. The tea party helps to establish that the world has just become more complicated and confusing to the platoon. That they didn't just fall in a hole on the road to Paris, but that they were "Falling Through a Hole on the Road to Paris." They weren't just in a hole, but they fell through a hole. Going through the hole the men of the platoon reached the other side leaving their world and sanity behind them. To make an allusion to Alice in Wonderland, the platoon was having tea with the mad hatter, Li Van Hgoc, and they had just left the real world to enter their own "Wonderland," filled with confusion, curiosity, and madness.

Through meeting Li Van Hgoc the reader learns the "true enemy" in the novel. According to Li Van Hgoc, "The land is your true enemy." He mentions that the soldier is the representative of the land and the land is also fighting a battle. Through listening to Li Van Hgoc at the "tea party" the...
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