Born On The Fourth Of July is a book about self-discovery. From beginning to end, we can see Ron Kovic, the author, struggling to survive life. Kovic is constantly trying to be the best at everything. From the very start when Kovic is little, he tells us that he likes working out with his arms in order to make himself bigger, which trying to make up for being too short. He joined the boy scouts with his friends and marched in the Memorial Day parade. He hit a home run for his first time at bat in little league. When he was in high school, he joined the wrestling team and constantly won first place in the competition. But When he lost, it was so emotional that he would cry for hours. Kovic would do anything to be first, even if it meant incredible...
He began to realize after he had shot his corporal and a hut full of young, unarmed children, that everything was different out here and winning medals and being first isn't important anymore.
But now it all seemed different. All the hopes of being the best marine, winning all those medals. They all seemed crushed now, they were gone forever. Like the man he had just killed with one shot, all these things had disappeared and he knew, he was very certain, they would never come back again.
The book ends with him describing memories from his childhood. Making plans in the backyard for his future. His mother using the hula hoop. His sister teaching him how to do the twist. Playing basketball with the girls watching. How wonderful the whole scene is compared to the gruesome descriptions from the chapters before. How easy everything was. He ends the book with these few simple words.
There was a song called “Runaway” by a guy named Dell Shannon playing one Saturday at the baseball field. I remember it was a beautiful spring day and we were young back then and really alive and the air smelled fresh. This song was playing and I really got into it and was hitting baseballs and feeling like I could live...
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