Monday, January 25, 2010

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.


  1. Mary Ann was a very interesting character. I was interested in how she felt more alive when she was in the jungle. She was closer to the earth and felt at home. This connection between people and the earth is sometimes lacking in our world today.

  2. I think it's really cool how well you can relate your experiences to this whole book. Few people our age can say they've had the kind of experience you have by being in Costa Rica. I also agree with your last paragraph. It really does open the door and makes people realize things about war and the aftermath they really know nothing about.

  3. I fell the same way, about the soldiers in Vietnam being forced to grow up much quicker than other boys their own age.

    I also like your theme that this chapter makes a girl become a women, I couldn't decided if she was a women that finally found something she loved (war). Or if she was just crazy, she loved a man so much but through it all away for the wilderness....that is sad.