The Sorrow of War

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The Sorrow of War

Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War is a novel that is a personal view of the Vietnam War from the perspective of a Vietnamese soldier. Like the American novel “The things they carried”, this novel brings about the effects of war on people, and especially how it defeats the human capacity for things such as love and hope. Bao Ninh offers this realistic picture of the Vietnam War’s impact on the individual Vietnamese soldier through use of a series of reminiscences or flashbacks, jumping backwards and forwards in time between the events most salient in memory, events which take on a different theme each time they are examined. His main protagonist Kien, who is basically Bao himself, looks back not just at his ten years at war, but at his final days at school, his work with an MIA team after the war, the slow disintegration of his life since, and the solace he finds in his writing. In this review I will show through examples throughout the book on to what extent the author’s war experiences are reflected in the novel.

While reading the novel one can see they sorrow that Bao felt in participating in this war. Many of the quotes in the book use a poetic phrase that the sorrow of war inside a soldier's mind was in a strange way immense sadness of a world at dusk. War took a lot from the people both of American and Vietnamese decent. You can see the sorrow from the beginning of the book quotes from Kien the main character you can see how much war really did affect them, “It was hard to remember a time when his whole personality and character had been intact, a time before the cruelty and destruction of war had warped his soul.” Soldiers didn’t even want to live during the war because Kien recounts the tale of a soldier, Quang, who is severely wounded during a battle. He begs to be shot and finally, commits suicide by using a grenade. As he is leaving, Kien hears as “Quang’s crazed laughter followed him” (96). Another thing these Vietnamese...
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