Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien
Genre: War story
The book was published in 1978 this was three years after the Vietnam war which Tim O’Brien served in. During the 1970’s there was an increase of old-fashioned storytelling
Protagonist: Paul Berlin: a young vulnerable soldier who is inexperienced and struggles with emotions including violence and family.
Antagonist: Cacciato: Young soldier who is almost described as mentally handicapped. Creates a problem as he knows what the other soldiers have done.
Summary: This novel is about the Vietnam War, memory, and the imagination. The novel consists of three distinct stories. The first is the story, told mostly in flashback, of Paul Berlin’s experiences in the U.S. Army in 1968, the height of the Vietnam War. The second story is composed of ten chapters, each titled “The Observation Post.” In these chapters, Paul Berlin is on night watch at Quang Ngai. The “Observation Post” chapters are later than the chapters detailing Paul’s experiences. Throughout the night, he considers what is thought to be reality, what happened, and what might have happened. The third story is concerned with an imaginary journey from Vietnam to Paris in pursuit of Cacciato, a soldier who is absent without leave.
Key Themes: chaos in war, duty in war
Journal entry #1: “‘No bridges,’ the lieutenant finally said… ‘I guess that’s one good thing. No bridges to burn behind me’” (O’Brien, 33)This quote is important and it marks the point at which the trip