Post Vietnam War As Portrayed By Jimmy Cross, And Tim O Brien

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After the Vietnam War, thousands of soldiers experienced confusion, survivor's guilt, post traumatic stress disorder, and various amounts of other psychological conditions. A little over a quarter of a million Vietnam soldiers have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (Handwerk). This is a staggering number, and is increasing in today's day and age as well. Soldiers who had or still possess post traumatic stress disorder, would be exposed to: depression, angry outbursts, guilt, nightmares, paranoia, and many other similar symptoms (Hillstrom 182). All of these disorders may contribute one to feel guilty or confused, alongside the trauma of war itself. Many soldiers also felt that they served no purpose during and after the war. …show more content…

Portrayed by Jimmy Cross, and Tim O’Brien himself, there are many situations that O’Brien uses to reveal his point. Survivor's guilt, along with guilt itself, usually occurs with feelings of guilt for surviving when others had not, or to punish themselves over deaths they felt they could have prevented, even when it was clear there was nothing they could have done. For example, in the chapter “Love,” Jimmy Cross confides in O’Brien that he has never forgiven himself for Ted Lavender’s death. O’Brien recalls that, “...we paused over a snapshot of Ted Lavender, and after a while Jimmy rubbed his eyes and said he'd never forgiven himself for Lavender's death. (O’Brien 26). These are the type of situations and memories that stick inside of soldier’s minds, and can have a huge toll on their psychological well being. These things can make one feel depressed, scared, and feeling very sick all the time. Feeling responsible for the death of a close friend or ally has a life long effect and posses the ability to lead to conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder. Jimmy Cross also feels a sense of guilt, as he feels responsible for Kiowa’s death in the sewage river where he orders the soldiers to stay and set up camp. As they are searching for Kiowa’s body the next day, Cross rehearses a letter that he would send to Kiowa’s father; “Carefully, not covering up his own guilt, he would tell how the mortar rounds made craters in the slush, spraying up great showers of filth, and how the craters then collapsed on themselves… My own fault, he would say” (O’Brien 162). In his own thoughts, Cross essentially covers up his own guilt by blaming the havoc around the soldiers like the mortar rounds; and the resulting craters. Cross does this to alleviate the sense of guilt, but in reality, the majority of the blame is a direct result of Cross’s poor

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