What Happened to Kathy Wade

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Tiffany Ong
Mr. Frickleton
May 22, 2007
Beneath the Waters
There are many people in this world that can prove that our past experiences contribute to the shaping of our present day selves and lives. Whether our past contains hidden skeletons in our closets or not, we cannot keep it a secret nor can we run from it. But if we decide to do so the past will only come to haunt us. In the novel In The Lake of the Woods, we see that there is a fine line between love and insanity. And John Wade –the antihero of the story- is drifting on the border line. One day, John awakens to find Kathy Wade, the love of his life and wife, gone without a trace along with the boat. Although author Tim O'Brien presents us with many theories for her mysterious disappearance over the course of the story, he gives give us no final ending. However, John's post traumatic stress disorder, allusions to water, his reputation as a magician allow enough details to surface form the depths of his memory to suggest that he murdered his wife. Before our eyes we view the disintegration of what was once a happy marriage and a murder mystery waiting to be unraveled.

Firstly, John's soldiering in Vietnam caused him to return home traumatized and suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which leads to their marriage falling apart. Like other victims of this disorder, John suffers from one of the symptoms called intrusion which is the unwanted recollection of experience. Michael Barton, a real-life spouse of a victim describes the sight of his wife in terror, "To see your wife laying on a bed, grabbing her ears and basically screaming out to make it stop or something like that, it does something to you."1 Similar to Michael, Kathy feels useless because she cannot help her husband due to her lack of understanding because she does not know what he is going through. In addition to, Kathy is frightened by his cries during his sleep. Next, in Vietnam John witnesses many killings and...
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