The Psychological Effects of the Vietnam War

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Grey Reames
March 1, 2012
Period 7
Dr. Tarkington

“With Liberty and Justice for ALL?”
Purpose: To highlight the battles after the war that Americans faced as evident through Ron Kovic’s Born on the Fourth of July and Tim O’Brien’s If I Die in a Combat Zone.
Thesis Statement: Moreover, The brutal awakening to the value of human life and the numb hearts that returned to the States throughout the war, left a debilitated generation with the task overcoming the past along with the rejection of a bias American society as depicted in Ron Kovic’s Born on the Fourth of July and Tim O’Brien’s If I Die in a Combat Zone. Plan:

1. To introduce the argument and give a general overview of the landscape of the war and its brutalities, the Veterans frustrations and views
2. To describe and illustrate the physically degrading health effects of chemical warfare and physical injuries of war and how Kovic and other Veterans were affected
3. To express the horrors in PTSD and the battles veterans face after war, Kovic and his wheelchair
4. To illustrate the acclimation back into society for veterans and the radically new lifestyle changes that were forced to be made due to the war, Tim O’Brien’s loss of hope, motive and Kovic’s new radical views that lead him to the steps of Washington

5. Conclusion, putting in end to the argument/purpose

I. Introduction
A. Background on the War
1. Purpose of the War
2. Numbers (Wounded and Killed)
i. .7 percent of Vietnam veterans died of injury or factor from the war, number still rising with agent orange and other long term effect 1.8% had to go to hospital due to their injuries. 

ii. About 1,830,000 were in the war, not all US. Large number were physically wounded.
3. Buzz of the war
i. War hadn’t always been dreadful, volunteers signed up
B. What made Vietnam Different?
1. Was it more stressful?
i. Much more stressful, hard to determine though. Lot of death. 
2. Guerilla aspect of the fighting and the terrain being a whole different enemy to fight, suspicions hiding and mines to avoid
3. The terrible deeds done by soldiers as seen in "If I Die in a Combat Zone", the atrocities of war
4. American Response
i. THE LACK OF SUPPORT FROM AMERICA AND ITS PEOPLE AS WELL AS THE FIGHTING AGAINST THE WILL OF SOLDIERS. GUILT OF WAR, NOT SURE IF WHAT THEY ARE INVOLVED IN IS ETHICAL
C. Reference to two novels
1. Ron Kovic’s Born on the Fourth of July describes the first hand account of a veteran living a new life with paralysis due to the war; doesn’t accept futility but rather utilizes his talents and his new life to alter the present culture

2. Tim O’Brien’s If I Die in a Combat Zone illustrates the brutality of a war we had no business in and the loss of hope, heart, and lives in an entire generation
i.  Tim O'Brien uses emotional scenes and exploits the country’s hypocrisy. In his next novel twenty years later, he turns the same book into depicting the "truth" in the Vietnam War. (Truth and Fact in "If I Die in a Combat Zone")

ii. "Chaos breaking contemplative silence, death intruding upon the innocence of a young man's dreams-.... negating the possibility of working within the comfort zone of absolutes."  (Quotation of Youth and War)

D. Present a purpose/argument
1. A void, as evident through the two novels, was left in the Vietnam era society due to the “walking dead” produced by the war
E. Thesis
1. Moreover, The brutal awakening to the value of human life and the numb hearts that returned to the States during the Vietnam era left a generation impaired internally and externally as depicted in Ron Kovic’s Born on the Fourth of July and Tim O’Brien’s If I Die in a Combat Zone. I. Physicality/Tangible Injuries

A. Background On Agent Orange
1. What is Agent Orange?...
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