“By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others. You start sometimes with an incident that truly happened, like the night in the shit field, and you carry it forward by inventing incidents that did not in fact occur but that nonetheless help to clarify and explain.” (p. 158) “War is hell, but that’s not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love. War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead."The truths are contradictory. It can be argued, for instance, that war is grotesque. But in truth war is also beauty. For all its horror, you can’t help but gape at the awful majesty of combat.” (p. 80) “Mary Anne made you think about all those girls back home, how clean and innocent they are, how they’ll never understand any of this, not in a billion years. Try to tell them about it, they’ll just stare at you with those big round candy eyes. They won’t understand zip. It’s like trying to tell someone what chocolate tastes like.” (Pg. 113)
“They moved like mules. By daylight they took sniper fire, at night they were mortared, but it was not battle, it was just the endless march, village to village, without purpose, nothing won or lost. They marched for the sake of the march.” (pg .15)
When you tell stories it is from your perspective and own experience. You do tell the truth but also you sometimes make up a few lies to make the story more interesting. Sometimes the people you’re telling it to do believe what you tell them. But honestly no one will know unless they were there.
This quote is significant because it is telling the truth. War is a contradiction. War can be good and war can be bad. But it is all different in people’s eyes.
Since the soldiers barely got to see their lovers and spouses, Mary Anne made it visible to how their family will see it. How their spouses will just sit there and listen to your stories not knowing how hard you fought and all the struggles you went through. Mary Anne was one of the first women to experience war and actually fall in love with it.
This quote is significant because it describes the soldiers’ motion throughout the day and night. How they marched for no reason, just because they felt like marching.
"'The thing is,' he wrote, 'there's no place to go. Not just in this lousy town. In general. My life, I mean. It's almost like I got killed over in Nam...Hard to describe. That night when Kiowa got wasted, I sort of sank down into sewage with him...Feels like I'm still in deep shit'" (156). “After a firefight, there is always the immense pleasure of aliveness. The trees are alive. The grass, the soil-everything...You feel an intense, out-of-the-skin awareness of your living self- your truest self, the human being you want to be...In the midst of evil you want to be a good man. You want decency...things you never knew you wanted...Though it’s odd, you're never more alive than when you're almost dead. You recognize what's valuable"(81) "Later, I remember, Kiowa tried to tell me that the man would've died anyway. He told me that it was a good kill, that I was a soldier and this was a war, and that I should shape up and stop staring and ask myself what the dead man would've done if things were reversed"(133). “At one point, I remember, we paused over a snapshot of Ted Lavender, and after a while Jimmy rubbed his eyes and said he'd never forgiven himself for Lavender's death. It was something that would never go away, he said quietly, and I nodded and told him I felt the same about certain things.( 27) “He was a slim, dead, almost dainty young man of about twenty. He lay with one leg bent beneath him, his jaw in his throat, his face neither expressive nor inexpressive. One eye was shut. The other was a star-shaped hole”. (124)...
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