Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong

This chapter was one of my favorites not because I'm a girl but because Mary Ann's story made me see how the war can change a person especially the men even though we don't pay much attention to them. This story showed how the war can make you become drawn into yourself. Mary Ann went to stay with her boyfriend Eddie Diamond because she wanted to be with him but her being there close to the war, here perspective changed and she later became one with the forest as O'Brien writes it.
Even though we in general don't pay much attention to the changes in the men in the war, Mary Ann's story made me in particular pay attention more. Like Rat Kiley seeing his team mates dead and picturing himself dead, I see how traumatized Kiley got through seeing dead bodies day after day.
I didn't really pay attention much to wars and how they affected people and also I was not into politics. Though I still I'm not into politics, I now have great respect for the veterans and their strength to stay in the war

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Exploration Four:

Chapter two "love" , has really engaged me the most. Jimmy Cross has finnaly reconected with Martha at a college reunion and spent most of their time catching up, but Cross rememers how he loved her and how they used to spen alot of time together. The love jimmy had for Martha made him go through alot and he always blamed him self for the death of his friend Lavender, because he always fantasies about her, her smooth skin, if she was still virgin, so instead of being a leader he was always thinking about Martha.

In life we have alot of responsibilites and duties, we must feel resposible for our loved ones but at the same time we should feel responsible for our duties. Jimmy had love for Martha but his duty was to lead the Guys and that's why he feels guilt for the death of his friend Levender. Reponsibilites can affect us in many ways, for examble if we don't do our jobs the right way or if we don't take care of our families then we failed responsobility in my opinion.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Dentist

Surprisingly, this short chapter was one of my favorites. It engaged me the most because it showed the true personality of a young man that made himself look tough to his peers. It was a short story about a boy by the name of Curt Lemon, "a real mans man....a true soldier". No matter how tough he made himself seem, when the dentist came around he was scared silly. Scared enough to faint. The theme that I saw was profounder, this nineteen year old boy may have been swayed by the war, but he was unchanged. He was so ashamed of the fact that he fainted, he was embarrassed. Just like any young teenagers would be. But to prove to his platoon that he was a real soldier he had to do something....he had to pull a tooth. This terrified him, so not only was he proving something to himself but also to his platoon. I suppose the reason this chapter engaged me so much was there was a point. A strong bold young man will never allow himself to look weak. Which in war is probably a good quality, but also sad that he will never be able to put his guard down, even though he is still a teenager.

This book just confirms to me the same feelings I have always felt about war. It is a sad fact, but wars in some occasions are absolutely necessary. War kills, but brings peace. It destroys old ways, but allows new theory's to emerge. It is a blessing and a cures. I guess I feel the same way O'Brien does about war, to some degree at least. I don't approve of some things, because I don't know enough about them. But others like WWI and WWII were there is a deviant reason and a solid understanding of the war I strongly believe people should fight for their freedom. Now a days people except to much, they except things to be handed to them. They feel like the privileged ones that would never have to fight in a war (just a O'Brien did.) But there are some people that would not only die for their country, but they would die for the opportunity to honor and represent their country. This book just confirms all those feeling I already had about war.

The Man I Killed

"The Man I Killed" was a really important chapter and emotional one as well in my opinion. The feeling of killing someone is something that i can't even imagine no matter how well O'Brien explains it. It's a burden that one has to carry for the rest of his life. Killing someone for something that they had nothing to do with is pretty hard to deal with. O'Brien imagines what kind of life the young boy had-he wonders if he was maybe a scholar, or maybe hated politics and was teased through out his life for being soft. I like the insight of what war was like and how a person killed by a grenade looked like.


in chapter how to tell the true war story was engaged me most when the author said war is hell, but that is not half of it. is thrue because the soldiers were strugling and surviving . they would see alot of troops deying in the war friends because they know each they eat to gether and slept to gether. imagine aperson you was talking last night get shot in next day in the war. am pretty sure they were alot of sudness in war. a war is another name for dead beause you never know if you would die in war or come back savety.
this book make remain me one of my best friend that based away two years ago and it is hard to forget when you lose a friend that closed to you.and i can imagine how these soldier felt when they lost their friends it is hard to forget. the characters in the book don't want came back for the war becouse they feeling embarrassed.

Exploration Four Response

How to Tell a True War Story, was a very engaging chapter. I believe this because they emphasize the importance of friendship in the war and dealing with the death of a soldier. The letter Bob Kiley writes to Curt Lemon's sister is very moving and powerful, but she never responds. I think that she should have responded out of respect, but it would be very difficult to deal with the loss of a family member. I thought it was very thought provoking when they said, "A true war story is never moral." It then states, "If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie." These two passages really hit me because it shows that unless you are there, you cannot fully understand how brutal and terrible War really is.
I don't know how I would handle the loss of a family member because we are all extremely close. This chapter allows me to appreciate the time I spend with them. Death is a part of life, and coping with such a tragic event could allow you to become closer with your loved ones. People sometimes struggle with the loss of close friends and family because they do not have strong supportive relationships with others. People may not have religious beliefs, and therefore have no one to pray to.
I have had a few loved ones pass and it is a very tough, emotional time. During these times, I think it is best to stay close with family or loved ones, and not to worry about other nonsense in your life. I believe that the best way to cope with this tragic loss would be to reflect on good times spent with that person. Also, prayer is very powerful. You should be trusting that your loved one is in a better place.


Exploration Four
chapter two has engaged me the most because it remined me that when i left my dad in back home. the event themes that is important to me in this chapter is when Mrtha and Jimmy run to each other and reunite and still loved her and remember how many hours that they used to spend togather.
This book make me to thing about to go back in Yemen and see my dad, it touch my felling, how much i miss my dad and what a imporatant thing that i am missing without my father. peoplpe struggle because they dont want to loose their close friends because they know how much important it is to be close with their friends and family because they will be their for you when you need their help. The best way is not to be far away from your family and your close friend, stay with them all the time if you can. i feel that its painful to go war and lose you friends at the war. This responsibilities will affect us today if still war going on around the world.
This book book make me to feel the wars that we have around the world included my country Somalia people killing each other without a good reasons both in the past and present war is a war absulatly war is not good for us.

explor. 4 Death of Kiowa

In the field, was very touching and emotional, the chapter where Kiowa dies. It was not a courageous death, and was sorta like one of the war stories that was talked about, one of those stories that you couldn't believe. This chapter was touching as two men, friends of Kiowas both felt blame for his death. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross felt it was his duty to protect his men and he should have known better than to camp in that mud mess, he took full responsibility and was going to write a letter to Kiowa's parents, at first he was going to make the letter simple and sympathetic, later did he decide to tell them it was his fault not go into details, but so they knew. Both Jimmy and the younger boy, whose name was forgotten were very hit hard emotionally. The young boy was a very good friend of Kiowa's and knew it was his fault the ambush came, because of his flashlight and the picture he was showing him. This boy cried and was so shocked, but what shocked me the most was he was more worried about his picture lost in the field, maybe it was because he didn't know how to react or deal with his emotions, trying to be the strong soldier. Kiowa did not deserve this. All the men searching for his body for hours was what good friends, good soldiers did. Finally finding him was a relief for me and the characters in the story taking all the men they had to pry him from the crud, this made me so proud of the courage, love, and devotion they had for each other. Many people have ways of couping with death and as soldiers they are numb to death, not allowed to cry, not allowed to feel. Soldiers kill and die everyday and in order to stay focus can not let emotions run wild. As for most civilians we deall with it by weeping, eating, sleeping, talking, ect.. Its life, people die.

"On the Rainy River" from The Things They Carried

In this chapter, O'Brien is getting cold feet about being drafted into the war. He seriously considered running away to Canada and had many good reasons for it. He considered himself "too good" for the war. He thought that being in this war destroyed the plan for how he thought his life would unfold. I really enjoyed this chapter because it showed O'Briens' honesty and humility. The one thing that is keeping him from running away is that he "... feared exile. I was afraid of walking away from my own life, my friends and my family, my whole history, everything that mattered to me." I liked how O'Brien described what made him make his decision on staying in the U.S. He was at the river, just barely in Canadian territory when he finally realized he couldn't go through with it; he admitted that it was because he did not want to feel shame for the rest of his life.

Since this book is primarily about stories from O'Brien's experiences from the times he had in Vietnam, I think it's appropriate to talk about how this book makes me feel about the issue of war. When you have to read the stories about the young men that die, such as Ted Lavender, Curt Lemon, and Kiowa, you feel a strong connection to them because O'Brien does such an effective job of personifying each character. It makes you want to strive for peace, but realistically you cannot have peace forever. There will always be someone who acts in unforgivable ways. Sometimes there will be people who are unwilling to cooperate or compromise. It's inevitable, and it's human nature to turn against each other sometimes. It's a tragic thing to have to go through, but it is what it is. Somebody has to go in and fight for us, and whoever it is has the nation's utmost respect and gratitude. Should they die, they will die with great honor and dignity.

"On the Rainy River" The Things They Carried response

My favorite chapter in the book was "On the rainy river". The chapter is the hook of the book- he essentially describes why he went to war, which is the prime question asked by anyone curious enough to bother. The lines that I loved the best from the chapter was, "Certain blood was being shed for uncertain reasons." and "I would go to the war - I would kill and maybe die - because I was embarassed not to. The story is beautifully written, filled with feelings of a kid in College- "All I could was cry. Quitely, not bawling, just the chest-chokes." The scenes are aesthetic- "The afternoon was sunny and cold. A stiff breeze came in from the north.. the boat made rocking motions... the air had the brittle scent of October." The part of the story where he is torn apart between choosing Canada or his hometown is in my opinion one of the most beautifully written passages in the book.

What does this book make me feel about the issue of war? Well, it makes me thing that sending soldiers off to a no-man's land and wearing Suit and comfortably sitting in the White House is no less than commiting Genocide- a genocide against all the soldiers, all the young men of the country. In Page 40 in the book, Tim O'Brien says, Knowledge, of course, is always imperfect, but it seemed


"BOY, WAITING FOR A SCHOOL BUS" is the poem i enjoyed reading most because of the author's word selctions and the way he clearified the details. " A scattering of snow spits a boy raw welcome" was probably my favourite line because right when u step outside in the winter you're welcomed by snow and freezing temperatures which is not the greatest thing in the world. Overall i felt connected with this poem because i could relate to it and it expressed some of the feelings i had about school buses when i was young.

On the Rainy River

A chapter I really found interesting was the chapter called, "On the Rainy River." In this chapter Tim O' Brien escapes to the Tip Top Lodge, where he meets Elroy Berdahl. He describes him in such detail that I can almost picture every conversation they had, every meal they ate together and every activity they did. Before Tim decides to leave he struggles with the fact that he, of all people, was selected by the draft to go to war. A war he didn't even believe in. He almost cannot handle the fact that someone as intellegent as him, and well educated and goal oreinted is going to be in the war. He mentioned that he wouldn't minf fighting, if it was something he believed in. So Tim plans to escape. One day after work he escapes. While at the Tip Top Lodge he is faced with a decsion. Escape to Canada where he can be free of this, or own up and go back to where he came from. There is a lot of reflection in this chapter. It stood out to me because in my life there have been several things that have come along that I do not necessarily want to do, and the thought of running away has crossed my mind just to avoid the situation but when faced with actually making the decision I can never make myself runaway from the problem. It only would make things worse. O' Brien faces fear directly in the eye with the help from his new friend Elroy. Elroy never asked questions, never made judgements, he was just there for O' Brien. And that is what he needed.

War is very much physical, but there is also so much going on in the mind as well and we get a very good idea of this from the book. I feel as though no one can ever truly be prepared for some of the things they are going to see in war such as, losing a best friend. The war changes people. Norman killed himself because he couldn't handle life after war. Many also questioned what they would do after the war was over. I feel like people can't go back to living life the way they ever have before. I feel like you get a new perspective on life. Sometimes people can handle to post tramatic stress and others can't. Some struggle to ever really get back to the person they ever war and that what scares me about war. You don't often hear about the stories after war. I recently just had someone from my high school who was in Iraq kill himself on Thanksgiving because he was still hurting from the war he had been in. The war changes you and the book does a good job putting that into perspective.

Exploration Four: Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong

The chapter that engaged me or stood out the most was the chapter "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong. It engaged me the most because it tells the story of Rat Kiley as a medic and his friends. It tells the story of his friend Mark Fossie and his sweetheart Mary Anne. Mark Fossie loves his girlfriend so much that he flies her out there. So they can be there together for a while. It engages me because she comes as this sweet innocent little girl in love with Mark Fossie. Who loves being with Mark and together and is happy. She is curious and intrigued by everything. While she is there she becomes a different person. She ends up with the Greenies and is not innocent like she was. She doesn't seem to want to be with Mark as much and they begin to not like being with each other and put a show on as if they are happy. At the end of the chapter she becomes one of the Greenies and wears human tongues around her neck. She had really changed. I think the important themes seen in this chapter is how this place can change a person. It allows you to see the changes in Mary Anne as they happen.

Tragic loss has a very big impact on people. In the book, the soldiers lose some of their close friends in death. This book makes me think that the impact of this lose is something that never goes away. It changes people it has an effect on them for the rest of their life. People struggle a lot with the lose of close friends and family because they are a vital part of everyone's life. Its hard to picture their life without that person. The person is someone they need. Someone that is there for them. It is someone that they have been close to. Someone they share most of their life memories with. They feel without them that they are alone. It isn't something they really want to get over, they or we simply just want them back. From my experiences with loss, I don't know that there really is a best way to get over the tragic loss of a person. I got over the tragic loss because I had to think how they would want me to live or how I would want them to live if it were the other way around . Would they want me to lay in bed everyday for the rest of my life mourning them? Would they want me to cry everyday for them? Would they want me to miss them. They would want me to be happy and to move on, but they don't want me to forget them. They would want me to love them, remember them, and be happy.

The Things They Carried Response-"On the Rainy River"

The chapter in the book that engaged me the most was "On the Rainy River." Tim breifly describes his life before he even knew he would be drafted, and then he continues to explain the following days after he got the letter in the mail. He states at the beginning of the chapter that this was a story he had never told anyone before because he always thought it was too embarassing. I liked it a lot for the reasons he seemed ashamed of it. It's raw truth and he really describes his situation in a way that you yourself can feel how torn he was. An important event in this particular story was how Elroy Berdahl "saved him." It's also a good chapter to relate your own life too. There's a point in almost everyones lives when they have to make an important decision. Even though it may not be a decision as big as if you should go to war or try to escape. Tim describes it as, " Run, I'd think. Then I'd think, Impossible. Then a second later I'd think, run."
I don't think there's any right way to get over tragic loss, but I guess it just depends on the situation and what kind of person you are. The book definitely reflects tragic loss, but doesn't necessarily dwell on it. Of course reading war stories you're going to hear about people losing close friends, but they also make it out to sound like that's just what happens when you go into battle. I think most of the effects of losing a loved one don't hit soldiers until the war is over and you're back at home reliving all of the memories; it's then that you can really reflect back on the good and bad. Tim says it himself, that it's been twenty years and he still relives the moments. He also says that the truths of war are contridictory, "It can be argued, for instance, that war is grotesque. But in truth war is also beauty."

Response to The Things They Carried

The chapter that engaged me the most in The Things They Carried, was "The Man I Killed." I think it was very powerful because of the language that the author uses here. In this chapter, he describes, in great detail, a man that he shot and killed. He describes the way the man fell to the ground, the star shaped hole he left in the man's head, and the way the man bled, but then he goes deeper. The author talks about the man's life, what he wanted to do, where he wanted to go, and why he never wanted to go to war. But now he was dead, the author feels terrible. To me, with all the repetition and gruesome detail in this chapter, it seems that the author is trying to bring this man back to life in a way. He feels terrible for killing the man, so he gives him a chapter in the book because it's all he can do.

Readin this book makes me think a lot about the issue of war in general, how it effects people. The way the author describes a dead man, the way a character like Henry Dobbins carries himself in a place where he doesn't seem to belong, or the way a man like Kiley can shoot that baby water buffalo after one of his friends die, it all seems to be just a part of the war. I think that men like these shouldn't be forced to go to war like they were. If Henry Doobbins never wanted to hurt anyone, he shouldn't have to. It's not right.

Exploration Four

Out of seventeen chapters, the chapter engaged me the most in The Things They Carried was "in the Field". This chapter was to find Kiowa's body and the members of the soldiers tried to find his body without sleeping. Kiowa was one of the important members and he was close to everyone therefore, everyone was very sad that he got stuck in the muck and died. I really liked the teamwork. It made me think how important is the responsibility when Jimmy Cross felt guilty about losing a teammate. Even though Cross did not like to participate in the war, he was doing his job such as writing a letter to Kiowa’s father.

I thought wars are just killing people and countries. However, this book made me think how they are working hard with a great teamwork, even though they leave their families, friends and girlfriends behind. I could not imagine how sad they were because they were forced to go to war. However, they don't show the fear of death in front of people because solders said they are not embarrassed to die since solders are the symbol of the country. Experiencing war will make them stronger not only physically. Each of them works very hard to go home for their girlfriends and families.

Exploration Four: In the field

The chapter I love most is “In the Field”, Kiowa was dead in the mud and the team kept finding his body in this chapter. Most of the soldiers blamed Lieutenant Cross for Kiowa’s death. He should have decided to go to a higher land as it was already raining heavily the night before Kiowa died. Jimmy Cross blamed himself for this too, and he had to write a letter to Kiowa’s father to express his condolences. The chapter also tells us that no one is to blame for anyone’s death in a war. It was a war, people die and its nobody’s fault. In addition, I really like Kiowa’s character because he is kind of a nice guy. He comforted Tim O’Brien when Tim killed someone and felt bad, he is a Baptist and he is a true friend to all the teammates. It is a touching scene when everyone tried to pull his body out of the mud. It’s sad to know that whenever a soldier died it was always the same. They find the dead body and slide him aboard a chopper, just for the sake to get it over quickly, and to forget the fact that someone died in the team.

As a college student and a daughter, I feel responsible for my academic results and my role at home. My responsibilities seemed really insignificant when comparing to Lieutenant Cross’s. Every decision he made affects his team members’ life. In the chapter “In the Field”, he made a mistake for not heading for a higher ground, and the consequence of it is the death of Kiowa. We have to be very careful when making decisions because we are responsible to bear all the consequences and deal with it. For Jimmy Cross, he was held responsible for Kiowa’s death and would have to be blamed by his peers for the rest of his life. For me, although my responsibilities aren’t as great as his, some of the decisions I am making will decide what kind of life I will live in the future. I will think twice before doing everything because it’s my responsibility to live my life with no regrets.

Exploration 4:The things they carried

In the book the things they carried the chapter that engaged me the most was "Speaking of Courage". The reason why I liked this chapter was because it shows how strong relationships are in life. It shows how a person feels when someone close to him dies. The main event that takes place in this chapter is when Norman Bowker couldn't rescue one of his soldiers named Kiowa. He saw him die right in front of his eyes. Also in the beginning of the chapter O brien shows Norman Bowker driving around in his Fathers big Chevy which shows his life after Kiowa's death. When I read the book i think about one of my friend who died when we were on a vacation in India. People struggle a lot when a close friend dies because they were probably be dependent on that one person and after he or she dies then they wont have anyone to ask for help. This happened with me when my friend died, at that time he was the only person that would tell whats right and wrong, and without him i would always make mistakes in life.
I think the best way to cope with the incident would be to write what and when it happend in your personal dairy.

Exploartion Four: The Things They Carried

I think that the most interesting chapater was " The Man I Killed". Not only did this chapter begin with a strong introduction of sense detail but it was one chapter I felt sympathy for both sides of the war. The Vietnamese boy was described as a boy that wanted nothing to do with the war but instead had a passion for education-teaching mathematics. He helt the pressure of his country; an expectation and a privledge to defend his country and his land. He would have had a bright future but it ended after he became like "oatmeal" in a village of My Khe. I felt bad for the narrator, the man who killed the boy. He didnt know he was harmless, just trying to make his way through the trail. He explained " I did not hate the young man; I did not see him as the enemy; I did not ponder the issue of politics or military duty." The granade me threw was to make him go away but instead it he ended up with his "jaw in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, one eye was shut, the other eye was a star-shaped hole." I think the narrator felt so much guilt because he unintentionally killed the boy. I found this interesting that even in a time of war, there is still so much guilt on killing an enemy when you are praised for it.

What does this book make you think about the impact of tragic loss? Why do people struggle so much to get over the loss of close friends or family? What is the best way to do this?
When i read this book, it makes me sad and depressed to think about what those men did for our country; half of them still unaware of what they were fighting for. It also opens up a different perpective for the reader, or a person who has never expeienced a situation like that. I think a trgic loss in a time of war is almost worse than a loss anywhere else. These men become like family to eachother; they learn to totally trust one another and lean back on for protection and in everyday situations. When a person dies for them, they feel like they have to put on this falso sense of toughness. Some cant be seen crying and they dont have time to mourn. They are expected to find the body, wrap it up and send it properly off in a chopper. I find that much harder to do because they dont get to properly say goodbye. People struggle with it so much because that is the way we handle situations like death; we are affected by the loss of people we love and care for. The best way I can think of to overcome this is remember the positives and the good times spent with this person. Dont forget who they were and how they influenced you.


The chapter that stood out to me in this reading was, "Style." It stood out to me because even though the girl's family had been killed in the fire, she still was dancing. I am not quite sure why she was dancing, but maybe it was because she wanted to celebrate the lives that they lived, and not let the mourning get the best of her. She might have been dancing in order to thank God that she was still alive. This chapter reminded of me of a rescue that I saw on television taking place in Haiti, where the horrible hurricane just occurred. A woman had been trapped for six days without any food or water, and the moment they pulled out from underneath the mess, the first thing she did was sing. She sang, in order to thank God for being alive.

This book, in some ways, gives me more of an idea of what soldiers really go through during a time of war. Many things go through their minds when they first find out that they have to serve or are about to be deported. They think about what their lives were like, and prepare mentally to not come back, and finish living in the future. Most of them are scared to die, but try not to show it so that they are not considered cowards. They need others to be around in order to keep themselves sane, because if not their minds wonder, and for some never really returns. The book helps me to realize that people in war are just like everyone else, but they are more than heroes. They fight and prepare to die, just so people like you and I can live out the future that they are not able to.

Exploration Four: The Things They Carried Response

The chapter that engaged me the most was the chapter "How to Tell a True War Story" because the author told the truth about what real war stories should sound like and how to tell if the story is real or not. He told the reader that "a true war story will tell the truth about this, though the truth is ugly" (O'Brien 81). The author is just being honest. That is why I enjoy this chapter so much. A lot of stories are told and the detail he gives is so incredible; I actually feel like I'm there. One event that I thought was breathtaking was when he talks about how Lemon died. How looking back he remembers this single moment of that day, "The gore was horrible, and stays with me. But what wakes me up twenty years later is Dave Jensen singing "Lemon Tree" as we threw down the parts" (83). It made me realize that certain times in life you might not remember exactly what happened or how, but there will be small details that stick with you forever.

"What does the book make you feel about the issue of war, both in the past and/or present"-
I have never liked the idea of war. I respect those who fight, but I do not agree with the action of war. Reading this book has made me dislike the draft. When the author talked about fleeing to Canada, I was right there with him saying "just do it" knowing very well that he actually will end up going to the war. I know there are some things we need to fight for, but how does drafting people, who can potentially not want to fight in a war that they don't believe in, help the situation? It doesn't and that is what is frustrating to me. People should have the right to enlist if they want to. Just because they may be physically capable to fight, doesn't mean their mind is in it as well. On the last page paragraph in the "On the Rainy River" chapter, the narrator tells the reader that He was a coward because he went to war. Though, it was more the fact that he didn't stand up for himself and his instincts by going to Canada. He gave up because he didn't want to be judged by others. People should not have the fear of judgement pushing them to do something they don't believe is right. In the future, I hope that they do not start the draft up again. For the sake of the citizens, it is not fair. I see a lot of issues caused by the draft. We don't need something like that happening at a time like this. The people who enlist in the military want to be there. They have the passion. This book has made me realize that not everyone likes the war, there are other opinions about it and no one should be judged for having their own thoughts on the issue. The issues of war go beyond what you're fighting for. It goes into the daily life of being overseas or where ever soldiers are. War is a personal choice. Let's keep it that way.

Exploration Four

The things they carried contains many issues with the idea of war and the loss that follows the violence. To me, the most influential chapter was In the Field. The men must find Kiowa after he was shot, killed and sunk into the field of mud. The men found it more of a responsibility than a duty for Kiowa not to be left in the mud. Their actions were out of respect not of necessity. This theme of loyalty between the soldiers really interesting and plays a major role in the relationship they have with each other. It is this loyalty that keeps the men together throughout the violence, and keeps them strong in situations of extreme emotion.
Loss of life and the idea of death are very prevalent throughout the book. When they talk of death it almost seems trivialized, and unimportant. They don’t pair sadness with emotion, but somehow manage to explain it in a simple way that death happens. When compared to the way that we mourn death and become sad by the death of a loved one, the soldiers seem very unemotional or dead to the world in which we live. I think it is so hard for people to get over the death of a loved one because when they see someone die, they realize that they will one day die as well. This concept is far from being on our minds while we live our lives, but when we are directly faced with death the issue arises. The essential key to copping with death is to accept it as a part of life. Just like we were born we will die, it happens and we have to, we have no control.

Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong

Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong is my favorite chapter so far in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. I enjoyed this chapter because it was very interesting to read about a Innocent seventeen year old American girl going to Vietnam. Her initial purpose for going was her love for her boyfriend but it later changed to a love for adventure and the land. It was intriguing to watch her change from wearing jewelry, having pretty nails, clean hair to no jewrly, short nails, hair tucked into bandanna. Her looks were not the only thing that Nom was changing. She no longer had a giddy laugh, if she even laughed at all. Her eyes seemed more focused and narrow and she no longer talked to her boyfriend about babies and their future home, but traveling and living life first. Eventually she began going out with the "greenies" on their intense missions. She felt alive in the jungle. She went barefooted and did things more daring than some of the green Boreas would do. She is a dramatic case of one of the main themes in the book, that serving in war changes you from a boy to a man or in this case a girl to a women. It changes how you think how you act and how you cope. You are forced to grow up and make big decisions.

The soldiers were forced to grow up when they went to Vietnam. In a less intense way, moving to Costa Rica forced me to grow up as well. I moved far away from everyone and everything i knew. I was forced to make my own decisions not based on my friends or family. I was forced to make completely new friends that became my family. It was difficult but made a lasting impact on how i think, act and cope with different areas of life.

When it comes to the issue of war, i have never had an in depth insight to what the individuals go though and what they think about. A sort of behind the sense idea. This book opens that door wide. I have a greater appreciation for the young boys who went to Vietnam. A greater understanding of their fears, dreams, devastations and joys.

The Things They Carried

The chapter in the book that engaged me the most was the chapter titled Stockings in the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. Coming from a huge Irish Catholic family, and not feeling like religion is a huge part of my life, I can completely relate to Henry Dobbins in the chapter. When you have a Deacon for a grandfather, faith is shoveled down your throat at every family gathering, most of the time you run the opposite way. Henry Dobbins tells Kiowa he wants to join the monks they are staying with, and Kiowa questions if he is religious, and Dobbins says he is not, but likes dealing with others and being nice to them. He later says the phrase I loved, "Wear a robe and be nice to people." That's all it needs to be for me, minus the robe part. Just being nice to others.

The book makes me think of tragic loss almost the same way as I had before, but it added to my understanding. Tragic loss affects everyone, and everyone has their own way of dealing/coping, and finding ways to get through the day. I think people struggle so much to "get over" the loss of close family members or friends, because when someone dies, that's it. You no longer get to have any sort of contact with them, verbal, physical, or even emotional. When someone dies, it comes as a shock, and depending on how close you were to the individual, it can take years to overcome. From my experience, the way that works best for me (though it might not for someone else) is to grieve however you see fit (don't bottle those feelings up!), and then focus on moving forward. I keep a ring from my grandmother, that was given to her by my grandfather, with me everywhere, and whenever I look at it, it fills me with a sort of peace. It has taken me a few years to come to terms with their death. They were a huge part of my life, even to a daily extent, and it was a shock to not have them at my graduation, so I wore the necklace to carry them with me. For me, having good memories, plenty of photos, and a family to tell stories with, makes the grieving process a lot easier to endure as well.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Boy, waiting for a school bus

I grew up riding the bus an hour and half to school and home was not pleasant and during those snowy frigid cold mornings were the worst because the bus was usually late due to the weather anyways but you didnt want to miss it.
My favorite part in this poem Is the great detail and imagery "His breath carves little statues out of the cold. A schoolboy's victim to this wind, waiting for a bus beside the road"
Although this could just represent a boy waiting for the bus, I personally think there is more behind the words a boy waiting for the bus. I consider this poem about a boy wait for the path to grow into a man standing, waiting, through the frigid times. When reading this you receive a sense of pain the boy is enduring. I find this very inspiring.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


What feelings or emoitions come through in the poem? Explain.
there is boy who was waiting for the bus early in the morning .and their were alot of snowing. he was so frozed whole he was waiting in bus. in this poem have alot of emotion how young kid had frozen and alot of schools boys were victed in the snow while they were waiting the bus. i think the bus came late that is the reason the boy got frezed.

Boy, Waiting For A School Bus

Out of all the poems "Boy, Waiting For A School Bus" was my favorite. I just remember being younger waiting at the school bus in the wintertime freezing, trying to stay warm as i stood out there waiting for the bus to get there. I loved watching my breath freeze because it was so cold out, that's exactly what I thought about when I read the line: "His breath carves little statues out of the cold."

In this poem I can visualize very well. I can see the snow falling on the ground, I can imagine feeling the wind touch my cheeks, and find its way through my articles of clothing. That was the worst. I could deal with the cold but the wind added on making it horrible to stand out there daily waiting for the bus to arrive. I think the meaning of this poem is simply about a cold winter day where a child waits for a bus, just like any other day.

Taking down the laudry

What struck you about this poem? What is the basic story, in your view?
The way the mother remembers her son by looking at the blue shirt. The story is about how a mother feels when her children have grown older and moved away from the house. she wants to move to a smaller house in smaller town."This house,too, has grown large around me & full of absence"

Response: "Woman at the Wall"

The poem that stood out to me the most was, "Woman at the Wall." I thought it was very short but sweet. In the beginning it was kind of confusing, and I did not clearly understand why she kisses name, but then I realized that it was a mother showing her love. As I kept reading I grew to like the poem, and the way it was written a lot more. "She prays that tonight while she is sleeping." This quote was my favorite because it reminded me so much of my mother, and the love that she has for me. The mother, like mine, and many others, is praying that her child sleeps through the night soundly, and wakes to see another beautiful day.

Boy, Waiting for A School Bus

This poem makes me remember what it was like to stand in the cold on a winter morning waiting for the school bus that may even be late. The second stanza of the poem, Hangover moon is like the moon from the other noght dissappearing and been pushed away in the morning by the snow clouds and hands freezing because a part of your glove is torn.
I like the third stanza that gives a great discription of how sky looks on that morning giving someone who has never experienced thw cold of a wintry morning to get an idea of how it the sky looks like.
In reading the poem, a feeling of cold, helplessness for the boy, and running inside a house washes over me.
The poem I believe its at its best in the second stanza, when the writer talks about the sky like a child that does not listen (vagabond).
The sky is maverick. Clouds
are rolling black, tossing vagabond
Waiting for a bus. Beside the road


This poem reminded me that back in high school whwn i used to wait the bus school to pick me up early in the morning, freezing outside, sometimes i used to wait the bus more then 30minuts because of the bad weather especially in the winter time when wind blowing into my face breath. This meant to me alot it remind me that early in the morning while i am waiting the bus i used to talk to my friends, but right now its only me by myself driving a car everyone sleep their is no onw that i can call early in the morning and talk to them while on my way to school

Response to: Tornado

I found in interesting how the poem was not so much about the Tornado itself, but rather about the boy Lyle. Throughout the poem, Lyle was portrayed as the nine year old that was used as the go-getter, of not much importance. He was described as "the catcher" for both sides because he was "slow". After reading the first 5 lines, emotions that struck me were sympathy for lyle; if he knew of the way the others felt about him or if he was completely oblivious. When the tornado scene appears, they explain the boys hiding under the pews, all except Lyle. I believe that is the turning point in the poem as the boys watch lyle 'parading around the infield, holding the fish with blood on its gills like he had caught it over home plate.' I think at that moment, the boys' perception of lyle changed. Not only had he survived the strong tornado that had uprooted everything around it, but the poem related the fish incident back to baseball to make him look like the hero of the story. The use of language was formal and contained many descriptive uses of dialogue. in the last sentecne of the poem, he reflects back to Lyle's unathleticism of baseball and how their view of him has changed.

Response to, Boy Waiting For A School Bus

This poem is maily about a boy, whose waiting for a school bus in a cold, freezing wintery morning. you can imagine what he is going through because standing outside in the cold with a freezing wind blowing ur face is very hard to take. i remember waiting for the school bus, and i always used to hate the feeling that i get from the cold.

Analysis of "Taking Down The Laundry"

The theme of "Taking Down the Laundry" is the sense of loneliness a mother feels whenever the kids grow up leave for College. The poem uses laundry as the main symbol, around which the whole poem revolves. This is clear because the title itself deals with Laundry.

The favorite part of the poem to me are "I watch my son's blue shirt pil free from the line." this line symbolizes the departure of his son.


"She kisses the name on its forhead, that way mothers do". This is, in my opinion, one of the most well written lines in the poem. It shows two important ideas that are seen throughout the poem; the mothers love for her boy, and the idea that her son is dead. I found it really interesting how the son is replaced by his name. The mothers actions are not for her physical son but his name, it is very creative. The poem also demonstrates how the mother longs for her son to be home and safe. To make his name come back to life and to lie in his bed once more.

Poem Response to "Tornado"

Tornado was a very interesting poem. What seemed like a normal day for these nine year olds, turned out to be quite the opposite. The part that struck me the most was at the end when the narrator talks about Lyle and how he caught the fat gray carp over home plate where he had lost so many in the sun. It is just interesting that out of the entire experience of a tornado, the author went back to talk about baseball and about Lyle's catch.
Maybe in the area that they live they are used to seeing a tornado. It makes me think about how a nine year olds mind it a lot less focused on the even of a tornado and more focused on the fact that "Lyle" caught a fish that "had come swimming down / Out of the clouds" (line 27).
My favorite lines from this poem are the first three. "On Saturdays we chose Lyle / Catcher for both sides. / He was one of the slow ones " (lines 1-3). I can easily relate to this because when I was younger all the neighborhood kids would play kickball or baseball and we would make all the slow kids play the positions that no one else wanted to play. So this part is funny to me because I can actually relate to it.

Response to Taking Down the Laundry

Taking Down the Laundry, I believe is a poem about a mother and her children. It compares the children to the laundry on the clothesline. The laundry represents the children. It talks about how the children are growing by the clothes that are present on the clothesline. The poem is written from a mother's perspective. She is telling the story of her children growing older and leaving the nest.
What struck me about the poem was how the mother related the children to laundry on a clothesline and how it will bring absence to her. She says,
in this house, playclothes
are simply clothes now, having grown
large with my children, larger
than my own clothes. This house, too,
has grown large around me
& a full of absence."
This part of the poem is my favorite. It talks about how when they were little they had playclothes, but now they are older and have clothes now. The poem shows the emotion of the mother, that she is not ready for her children to keep growing and to have an empty house. Also, she knows it is going to happen and that she can't control this.
This relates to me because this will soon be my mother. Although, we don't have a clothesline. She will realize when there is not as much laundry to do. I

Response to "Taking Down the Laundry"

In the second sentence, the clean laundry on the clothesline are drying in the "gritty city air." This could be a foreshadowing of what is to come later in the poem when the children will be gone and the mother is left to herself in the old home.

The playclothes are no longer playclothes, but instead simply clothes. The laundry has lost some meaning because things have changed. They are not going to be worn by her children anymore, but she is cleaning them anyway.

The house has grown large and absent. Without children around to take care of, everything seems much more open, still, and vacant. The house is empty, nothing taking up space. There is seemingly more space than there was before.

As a new wind comes, everything is moving -- a metaphor for how the family is moving on. The narrator's son's blue shirt is pulled free from the line -- another metaphor of her son growing up and leaving.

The setting has turned to evening, symbolizing that it is at the end of the children's childhood. It is a dream, and as many dreams can be surreal, so was her experience with a small house and a small town.

The land is flat and spread out far beyond us. Everyone is free to go and explore the world, and it is a constant reminder for the mother as she gazes into the endless prairie.

"Don't I know you?" She remembers what it is like to be independent without her children around. The cooling light is another metaphor for the beginning of a pleasent new day and a new chapter in the mother's life.

Taking Down the Laundry

The poem Taking Down the Laundry seem a poem of desperation as well as of hope. The speaker describes how city life is dirty describing the air as "gritty" and seems in a state of desperation to escape their current situation. The speaker seems to have very little sentamental attachment to the house she lives in now saying "This house, too, has grown large around me and full of absence." The speakers true dream is to live on the prarie in Kansas where life moves slower. The speaker looks to a brighter future and literally greener pastures, in a life where they can "smile in the cooling light." This was my favorite line of the poem. It provides almost a happy ending. Although we know that the speaker is not actually in this situation, we have hope that they will one day fulfill their dream.

Response to 'Boy, Waiting for a School Bus'

I believe that 'Boy, Waiting for a School Bus' was from the perspective of a bus driver. I think that she is describing what the boy goes through while waiting for the bus. I liked the line from the beginning, "A scattering of snow spits a boy raw welcome, waiting for a bus beside the road." This painted a clear picture in my mind because it has great touch detail. I thought "raw" was a good word to use because it is very bitter, cold, and dry. My favorite line from the poem was, "His breath carves little statues out of cold. A schoolboy's a victim to this wind." Again, the sensory detail was very clear in my mind. I really liked this line because I felt that I could see his breath. I felt that I could connect to this poem because I can remember being in the same position that the boy is in. "Knuckle in a glove worn through" reminded me of my older brothers because they were always outside with a hole or two in their gloves. This poem was very repetitive because at the end of every chunck of lines it read, "waiting for a bus beside the road," or "Dawn, a scattering of snow." I liked the use of repitition because it reinforced that the story was about a boy and what he went through as he waited for the bus.

Response to "Boy, Waiting for a School Bus"

My favorite line in the poem is:
"A scattering of snow, spits a boy raw welcome, waiting for a bus beside the road."
I love the vivid imagery that I get when it refers to the snow as "spitting," since I have heard this description of snowy weather before.

Throughout the poem, the language is very strong, but I think it is the strongest in the fifth stanza, where it creates such a vivid scene in my mind. I used to have to wait in the cold for the school bus since my parents left for work early. I would walk down to a friend's house who lived in the neighborhood, and we would stand outside, rain, snow, sleet, or sunshine, and wait for our bus.

Response to Taking Down the Laundry

The story this poem portrayed is told by a women that is growing older. Her children are getting older and leaving her, she uses the laundry as a metaphor for her children. I thought this poem did a very good job describing the laundry in different ways. My favorite line was
"In a new wind
the laundry billows now; everything
is moving, there's no containing
it. I watch my son's blue shirt pull free
from the line."
This part of the poem is so descriptive, it tells a story that things are changing and the new wind that is blowing are new events happening in her sons life. She doesn't want to lose him, but just like her sons blue shirt he has to move too.

Response to "Boy, Waiting for a School Bus"

The poem "Boy, Waiting for a School Bus" is about a boy waiting for a school bus on a cold, winter morning. It repeats many times in the poem "a frozen dawn, a scattering of snow." I think the poem is really descriptive, it really draws a picture in my head of the boys surroundings. A good line in the poem is "Ditch and stubble fields, tar that never ends." I think a lot of people could relate to this, atleast anyone who has ever waited for a bus or any kind of ride. Standing in the cold by yourself, maybe a little impatient, keeping your eyes focused on the ''tar that never ends'' anticipating when you'll finally be picked up and saved from the wind.

Response to "Taking Down The Laundry"

"Taking Down The Laundry" is a poem about a mother seeing her children grow up and her feelings about it. She talks about the laundry she did when her children were still young and now, she only have to do laundry for herself. Her children probably moved out and she moved to a smaller house and does her own laundry all the time. Watching her children grow and leaving don’t really make her feel bad. She writes, in the last stanza, “I will smile to myself, smile in the cooling light”, I think that she actually feels proud that her children finally grow up.
I am still living with my mom but I know I will be moving out soon. I know she doesn’t want me to leave her but she encourages me to do that because she wants me to be more independent. This poem gave me a perspective from a mother with their views on children growing up. I think all mothers will feel the same with the poet because they love their children and want the best for them. My mom raise me up, I won’t forget all those laundries she has done for me and all that love she’s given to me. Sooner one day, we will have to go our separate ways, but we will always care about each other and always be in one another's heart.

Response: Boy, Waiting for a School Bus

My favorite poem was "Boy, Waiting for a School Bus". The author did a good job describing the boy who waits for the bus in the cold morning everyday. I think we can all imagine the same feeling as the boy because we have waited for the bus once in the winter at least. I realized the end of every stanza, she ends with "waiting for a bus besides the road" or "dawn, a scattering of snow". I think the author uses unique language so the reader can easy to image the picture.

My favorite line of this poem is:
Hangover moon, knuckle in a glove worn through. A flock of geese, some frozen.
I still remember when I was waiting for the bus during winter, it was always dark outside and I could see the moon still from the night before.

Along Lake Michigan

This poem seems very sad to me. It sounds as if the author is watching an animal that was just killed, by a boat or something in the lake, by people. He doesn't want to believe it at first, but he watches as her hungry offspring come, not knowing now that their mother is dead and we know that they will die too.
It seems to me that there is anger in this poem, too. The author is standing between the road and the lake as cars go by
"not moved by the madness
of three hundred cars in ten minutes
here where the woods might have been."
He says he is "here where the woods might have been" I think with some sort of resentment towards mankind. He clutches a stick in his hand as if he is angry at the people driving by for killing the woodchuck.

First posts on our blog: Poem responses

Let's get started today by responding to one of the poems in the packet.

What struck you about this poem? What is the basic story, in your view?

What feelings or emoitions come through in the poem? Explain.

Where is the language especially well done? What's your favorite line from the poem? Why?

How might you connect to the poem? What does it mean to you?

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ANSWER ALL THESE, but pick ones that are interesting to you, and write a poem response on the blog.

To post, you must use the new post feature. To comment on other students' writing, click on the comment feature. Please write one original post, and three comments, on the blog.

Remember: Every chance to write is a chance to write well!

All best,

Mike Lohre