His friend Max Arnold had drowned in the lake and so he didn't go to the war at all. Now that Norman is back from the war he feels aimless and without anyone to talk to.
Finally he would ask, "You really want to hear this? The elusive Silver Star is a symbol with its meanings in conflict within the context of this chapter: This military language over the intercom is almost comical.
He writes in the past tense, differentiating between his present self and the self that fought in the war. Norman's repetitive drive in circles around the lake recalls the dancing girl that the troop encounters in "Style;" both are acting out a search for meaning.
Lieutenant Jimmy Cross had to fire his pistol in the air to make the mama-sans go away. He thinks about how his friends have gotten married or moved away to find jobs. Bowker would tell his father the truth, which was that he let Kiowa go.
He finished his root beer and pushed the intercom. Men began shooting up flares. Norman wants to talk about Vietnam, and he imagines how he would tell his father about almost earning a Silver Star, but his father is too busy to listen.
As Norman continues to play out the scenario in his mind about telling the story of the shit field, it becomes clear to him that he cannot tell the crux of the story, his attempt to save Kiowa from drowning: As he drives around the lake Bowker keeps remembering how Kiowa, his friend, sank under the shit.
He imagined his father would say maybe Kiowa was gone already, but Bowker would say he wasn't. It sent Norman to war, its social obligations forced him to go to war, to feel guilty for only winning seven medals, but it doesn't want to know about the war.
Active Themes He ordered a burger with fries over the intercom. He contemplates telling his stories about Vietnam to four railway workers he sees. Bowker saw Kiowa sink into the muck and grabbed him by the boot to pull him out. Bowker keeps driving through the town. He parks, gets out of his car, and wades into the lake with his clothes on.
On his eleventh trip around the lake, he imagines telling his father the story and admitting that he did not act with the courage he hoped he might have.
She looked at him for a second like she had a question, but then she pushed the intercom for him. Rounds hit close by, and Bowker heard screaming and recognized it as Kiowa's voice. This rejection by his father that he assumes will occur, combined with his sense that the "town seemed remote" and that "he felt invisible," contributes to the extreme alienation Norman feels.
Finally, someone concluded that they had set up camp in a sewage field.
His sweetheart Sally is married. He recalls driving around the lake with Sally before the war and remembers how a childhood friend drowned in the lake.If Max were here, he would talk to Max about the war, and courage.
And if his father wanted to talk, he would talk to his father. He would say that late that night, the platoon came under attack, and the night. Need help with Speaking of Courage in Tim O’Brien's The Things They Carried? Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis.
The Things They Carried Speaking of Courage Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes. The Things They Carried study guide contains a biography of Tim O'Brien, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
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