Going After Cacciato (Fiction)
By Tim O'Brien
Author: Born October 1st, 1946, O'Brien grew up in Minnesota. He graduated with a BA in political science in 1968 from Macalester College. Although against the war in Vietnam, O'Brien signed up anyway and was assigned to 3rd Platoon, A co., 5th Battalion, 46th Infantry. His time spent in Vietnam gave him all the experiences necessary to write Going After Cacciato. After the war, O'Brien started schooling at Harvard, which he soon quit for an internship at the Washington Post. Reporting gave way to writing books of fiction, of which his experiences in war greatly influenced.
Form, Structure, Plot: The novel is organized into 46 chapters over 301 pages. Although the exact chronology of the novel isn't clear, it is split into three distinct "sections," switching back-and-forth between the three at will. One section, every chapter of which ending with "
On the Road to Paris" are all events thought to be later than the other two "sections," but are still written in past tense. This "section" is about the platoon's following of Cacciato, a deserter from their platoon. Everything in this "section" is in chronological order with a simple plot. The next "section" consists of chapters, every one titled "The Observation Post." These chapters are thought to be a flashback of Private First Class Paul Berlin on his middle-of-the-night lookout posts. These chapters reflect on Paul Berlin's thoughts and feelings about the war and life. The last "section" is of Paul Berlin's experiences in the war prior to Cacciato's desertion. These chapters are what relate the book to Vietnam, being the only section that talks of actual war. The novel has a complex plot with unsure chronology due to the fact that it is about psychological effects of soldiers in war. The reader isn't sure exactly how much time passes during the novel, due to the multiple flashbacks and apparent...
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