December 11, 2012
Peace: Life after The Sorrow of War
The novel The Sorrow of War was written by Bao Ninh, former Vietnamese soldier who was involved with North Vietnam and fought in the twenty-seven Youth Brigade. Kien, the protagonist of the novel, is used through the perspective as the soldier the author once was. Kien’s wrote his story in a series of flashbacks before, during, and after the war. Vietnam War was a conflict between South Vietnam and The U.S. against North Vietnam. It lasted from 1955 to 1975. Victory went to the North where Kien and his brigade had served. Kien was one of the luckiest ten who survived in his group of 500 men. The main character in the novel relives the memories he had while in combat, early childhood experiences, and his relationship with his girlfriend Phoung before the war, but mostly, Kien talks about the horrors he witnessed and the effect that they have on him as a survivor. In the novel, Kien suffers from trauma after his involvement in the Vietnam War. In his mind, most of his flashbacks are about the devastating slaughters of the war and how it continue to plague him. As Kien allows his past and pain to come through and take form in his writing, he manages to remove himself from grief and despair back to the reality of peace by accepting his past experience, thus, it may be possible for him to live through postwar life. There are three phases that trigger his thinking process to a life that may not have peace, but still a life worth living. The three phases are memory despair, acceptance, and clear consciousness of realization.
At the end of the war, Kien spends his post-war life reliving his experience in the past. Kien had lost motivation of himself and felt shameful of being a survivor. These psychological scars had altered his mindset to resume back to the tragic horrors he had experienced. Therefore, Kien will never go back to the happy life he once lived....
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