“Sweetheart of the Song Trabong”: Story # 9 of The Things They Carried

For Rat Kiley, I think, facts were formed by sensation, not the other way around, and when you listened to one of the stories, you’d find yourself performing rapid calculations in your head, subtracting superlatives, figuring the square root of an absolute and then multiplying by maybe.

Sentence of the Day: from “How To Tell a True War Story”

  • If a story seems moral, do not believe it.

Freedom! Thinks the 21-Year-Old Narrator

And then Tim O’Brien says, Not so fast.

The border with Canada is so close, all the narrator has to do is get to the other side of a river.

  • My conscience told me to run, but some irrational and powerful force was resisting, like a weight pushing me toward the war. What it came down to, stupidly, was a sense of shame. Hot, stupid shame. I did not want people to think badly of me. Not my parents, not my brother and sister, not even the folks down at the Gobbler Café.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: “On the Rainy River” by Tim O’Brien

At some point in mid-July I began thinking seriously about Canada.

Tim O’Brien: “On the Rainy River”

Of course, the title story, The Things They Carried, is brilliant: the listing of each piece of equipment and their weight, all contributing to that sense of dread too large to name.

Then, in “On the Rainy River” (Story # 4), self reads something that seems so basic, so elemental, so sensible, that she can’t believe no one’s quoted it before?

  • The only certainty that summer was moral confusion. It was my view then, and still is, that you don’t make war without knowing why. Knowledge, of course, is always imperfect, but it seemed to me that when a nation goes to war it must have reasonable confidence in the justice and imperative of its cause. You can’t fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you cant make them undead.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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