Sweetheart Of The Song Tra Bong Character Analysis

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It’s easy to think that there would be no place for women within a novel about soldiers fighting in a war, but in Tim O’briens novel The Things They Carried that couldn’t be further from the truth. O’brien uses the women in his story to communicate themes and messages more effectively, which gives them a very important role within the stories that can often be overlooked, similarly to the way women’s work and efforts during any sort of war were overlooked. This essay will explore how Tim O’brien used the women in his stories to develop his themes and communicate his ideas. One of the most obvious examples of the author doing this is with the character Mary Anne in the chapter “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong”. Mary Anne starts out as an …show more content…

Young, that's all I said. Like you and me.” (61). The more time she spent in the Song Tra Bong the more she adapted to it, she became tougher, “No cosmetics, no fingernail filing. She stopped wearing jewelry, cut her hair short and wrapped it in a dark green bandanna. Hygiene became a matter of small consequence.” (62). Eventually, Mary Anne gets ‘seduced by the greenies’ and is seen wearing a necklace of tongues. It’s obvious Mary Anne is used to represent a loss of innocence among the young soldiers who went to Vietnam (or really any other war). Marry Anne was “Just a child, blond and innocent, but then weren't they all?”. Another clear way the author uses a woman in his story is Linda, a girl he fell in love with as a child who passed away due to health issues. Tim O’brien utilizes Linda to talk about themes like death and love, he talks about how stories can “revive, at least briefly, that which is absolutely unchanging”. Kathleen, the protagonist’s daughter is used to again, develop themes of innocence but is also used to serve as a sort of …show more content…

Despite the men’s horrible position they had been put in, they still felt love, and that love served as a sort of anchor to their homes. Even feeling love for a woman who might not have felt the same, such as the protagonist or Henry Dobbins, provided immense comfort for the soldiers. Aside from providing morale, women also had incredibly important roles outside of the battlefield, such as taking on the roles their husbands previously had and still doing their domestic tasks. The effect women (especially American women) had during the two world wars and the vietnam war is very understated and often

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