The Sorrow of War

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Adam Peppel
IAH 204

“It is as a soldier that you make love and as a lover that you make war,” Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Both Kien and Jimmy Cross, used their love back home as a way to escape from the horrors of war. Even though they were from different sides of the world, Kien and Cross shared similar experiences during the war. Both found themselves fighting with the same motivation, using their love to keep them alive and to survive until the end of war. For one of them, this motivation was a major distraction, but for the other it is the only thing that kept him alive. In the Sorrow of War, Kien is the lone survivor of his North Vietnamese brigade and this book is his memories of the war. It is the memories of the last ten years that wasted his youth and that of his countrymen and continues to affect life after the war. During the war Kien used his affection for Phuong, his lover, back home to help him push forward to the end, instead of surrendering to the inevitability of defeat. Kien and Phuong were truly in love. Before the war they were inseparable; together they were not only lovers but also best friends. Both of them were very influential to each other’s lives. Growing up, Kien did not have a positive relationship with his mother. When mentioned in the book she was described as being cold and even a harsh part of Kien’s childhood. Due to the absence of a loving mother, Kien searched for new maternal warmth through Phuong. Kien desired affectionate contact, because he had been denied it when he was young. Phuong provided physical warmth to Kien. During the night at the lake, Kien refused to sleep with her, yet he had a feeling of completion and relief just from lying there with her. Phuong kept Kien stable, and most importantly gave his life a sense of fulfillment. When Phuong left Kien’s life, he still described her as if she were actually there. In the book it said, “She had left him, that...
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