The Sweetheart Of The Song Tra Bong Character Analysis

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When Mary Anne first entered the war in Vietnam, she wasn't prepared for the changes the war would have on her as a whole. Similarly, many of the young soldiers who entered the vietnam war were equally as unprepared, leading to rapid changes in the soldiers mental states. Tim O’Briens use of characterization of Mary Anne from the chapter “The Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong'' mirrors the stages of how a soldier loses themself at war. Tim shows this by subtly showing ‘real’ examples throughout the book of the decaying mentality Mary Anne exhibits. In the beginning of the chapter “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong,” Mary Anne is portrayed as being bubbly and innocent, much like many soldiers entering war. The author depicts a soldier, Mark Fossie, …show more content…

By describing her with red, white, and blue, the author is referencing the American flag, causing Mary Anne to represent an American beauty. Her being an American beauty can symbolize her innocence entering the war scene, and how she is still quite young. Additionally, by describing her complexion as being “like strawberry ice cream” (89), O’Brien further adds to the characterization by using objects to create a picture of Mary Anne. In the chapter “How to Tell a True War Story,” Tim O’Brien talks about two young soldiers — Curt Lemon and Rat Kiley — who were both clearly too immature to be fighting a war. The author makes note of their childish behaviors by describing how the boys “were giggling and calling each other [names] and …show more content…

O’Brien informs the reader that Mary Anne now wears “ no cosmetics, no fingernail filing,” which is quite different from her old self (94). In addition to that, Mary Anne “stopped wearing jewelry, cut her hair short and wrapped it in a dark green bandanna” (94). By describing Mary Anne as being very care-free with her looks, O’Brien shows her losing the narrative of being an American beauty. Because Mary Anne lost that narrative, it is now heavily implied that she no longer has the innocence that goes along with being an American beauty. Furthermore, O’Brien now describes Mary Annes blue eyes as being “fuzzy”, and moving into an “intelligent focus” (93). By using those words, the author creates a feeling of loss, and blurriness. Mary Anne can now be viewed as ‘missing’ a key part of her personality, which would be her bright eyes. O’Brien creates a clear connection to that feeling of blurriness in the chapter “Enemies'' by showing a fight between two soldiers who were in the same company. Prior to their argument, Lee Strunk had stolen Dave Jensen's jackknife. This caused Dave to snap and initiate a fight between them, which resulted in Lee having a broken nose. This caused even more anxiety for Dave, so much so that “the distinction between good guys and bad guys disappeared for him” (60). This can be used to show how being in Vietnam has started to affect Dave,

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