Norman Bowker's Life In The Things They Carried

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Returning home from war is never an easy transition for a soldier, no soldier embodied that truth more than Norman Bowker. Bowker is a Vietnam War veteran from the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien who struggles with his life and mental health after the Vietnam War. Bowker is troubled by his memories- most specifically one memory- that he cannot forget or forgive himself for. Bowker was a man who had to fight for his life every day he was in Vietnam, there was always a chance the Viet Cong would attack. Bowker lost friends and lost fellow soldiers every day in Vietnam, he even lost his best friend to the war. He could not deal with his memories that consumed him and eventually took his own life. Bowker has an internal struggle with himself and his mind after the war, especially with the memories that eventually envelop his entire life. Bowker witnessed many terrible atrocities in his time in Vietnam. His time in the war was indicative of the future he would have after seeing what he saw. He had to witness the other soldiers in his platoon die, the enemy die, the slow but sure death of innocence in his fellow man. By far he has the most cumbersome burden to carry of any of the characters in the book, maybe because of how his life was during the war. He dealt with bone-chilling cold, the stench of a field filled with excrement, and the constant mortar shelling his company took on (as illustrated in the chapter “speaking of Courage.”) He believed the real courage
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