As I read “Speaking of Courage” by Tim O’Brien. I thought of many ways to interpret the story’s meaning. However, after much pondering and reflection I feel that the road around the lake that Bowker incircles continuously throughout the story leads to the true meaning of the entire story. There are many instances in the story of people and objects going nowhere. Everything and everyone he sees along the road seems to be stuck, like him.
Norman Bowker is a war veteran who lost a friend in the war. He feels regretful and sorrowful when thinking of his friend’s death. He blames himself thinking he wasn’t brave enough to save Kiowa. Now he is living a life of purposeless life which he is trying to find a meaning for. However at this moment in his life he feels like his life is going nowhere.
He starts the story with, “The war was over and there was no place in particular to go.” With this statement he implies that he is going nowhere. He states many other things inferring the same thing. He says, “He drove slowly. No hurry, nowhere to go”. Another time he says, “Dark was pressing in tight now, and he wished there were somewhere to go.”
Many times throughout the story he speaks of the people he has lost in his life and about how he once drove around the lake with them. He specifically speaks of two people, Sally and Max. He said, “Back in high school, at night, he had driven around and around it with Sally Kramer”. Sally Kramer was an ex-girlfriend he had before the war, who is now married, which marks an end to that relationship. He brings up his friend Max also, who drowned in the lake when they were younger. He says, “Before the war, they’d driven around the lake as friends, but now Max was just an idea”. Like the relationship he had that went nowhere, so is his life.
Numerous times in the story he infers that other characters and objects in the story are going nowhere. When he goes through the drive through the...
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