Character Analysis: Going After Cacciato

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Going After Cacciato Every soldier deals with one common enemy during the course of their duty: fear. While most imagine what their lives would be if they deserted, few act upon this fear-induced fantasy. In Tim O'Brien's novel Going After Cacciato, Paul Berlin, a soldier in the Vietnam war, must go on an adventure to find an AWOL boy from his squad. The squad, after seeing Cacciato (the boy who went AWOL) multiple times along the way, finally circle him to "block a retreat" (O'Brien 25). The first chapter ends with Paul yelling 'Go. Go. Go!', signaling the rest of the squad to move in, but picks back up in the last chapter with Paul soiling himself and Doc saying "'It's okay... All over, all over. Fine now.' (331) with no further explanation on the subject of…show more content…
After that, the squad goes to an observation post where many of the chapters are set, and where Paul Berlin takes watch in order to sort out his thoughts of the past, present, and future. In between the first chapter and the last is Paul telling the story of what could have happened if they had kept going, flashbacks of what he is willing to admit to himself at a given time, and himself in the observation post reflecting on the rest of his thoughts. Throughout the book O'Brien uses many allusions, similarities between flashbacks and his 'future', and Paul’s fear to illustrate that Paul creates a 'dream world' to conquer his fear and to face the decision every soldier faces: to stay or desert. First, O’Brien has Paul allude to many well-known fairy tales because Paul creates a story in his mind to fabricate a potential future. For example, an allusion to Alice in Wonderland is made when Paul, the squad, a refugee, and the refugee’s aunts fall down a hole. Paul mets a refugee along the way named Sarkin Aung Wan, who had been traveling with her aunts by a buffalo drawn cart. The squad rides along with the young girl and her aunts until
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