In The Lake Of The Woods

Good Essays
We like to think that we have control over our destinies. But the question remains, how much of that future do we really control? In the book In the Lake of the Woods, by Tim O 'Brien, a man named John Wade is in a rough spot in life. He has been in politics for years and recently just lost a primary election for Senator in the state of Minnesota. John’s experiences like his alcoholic father, his experiences in war, and what he did to hide his past all led to the demise of his career and his long-standing reputation. Considering this predicament, the evidence shows that our past has a clear connection to our future. Nevertheless, it is clear that our destiny is fated and the events of our lives have a distinct connection to our past, placing…show more content…
The Vietnam conflict impacted veterans in a variety of ways. Most combat soldiers witnessed violence and lost friends to the horrors of war. John was no exception, throughout the war he witnessed many gruesome events which not only changed his thinking but left him scarred years after the war. Kathy had a firsthand account of this when he had nightmares, “I remember Kathy telling me how he’d wake up screaming sometimes. Foul language, which I won 't repeat. In fact, I’d rather not say anything at all. (29). Most of John’s problems relate to his experiences in My Lai, where his platoon was ordered to eliminate the “Viet Cong” in the village. Because the men had seen so much in Vietnam and because of how the war was fought (Guerrilla warfare), they had little to no remorse when gunning down children and woman. They were so tired of fighting the “unknown enemy,” this can be seen in the soldier 's testimonies, “I didn’t discriminate between individuals in the village, sir. They were all the enemy, they were to be destroyed, sir.” (141) However, John never intended to kill the innocent. He saw the same soldiers that he fought with for the past few months brutally massacring the villagers that were trying to flee for their lives. This was the climax of the war for John, he would forever be changed by what he saw in My Lai and would take many months in order to get over what happened. He decided to take another tour in Vietnam and planned one of the biggest magic tricks he would ever be able to successfully
Get Access