The Things They Carried Norman Character Analysis

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In the introductory chapter of The Things They Carried that details the physical and emotional weight of the objects men carry with them through warfare, often the objects carried are emblematic of home which brings comfort and stability to the uncomfortable foreign setting of Vietnam. From photos, pebbles, pantyhose, and Bibles certain objects provide stability through their connection to America in contrast to the strange and foreign setting of Vietnam. However with the distinction between peaceful home spaces and foreign war spaces eradicated as illustrated through the story of Mary-Anne, despite “idyllic memories of home” providing comfort during wartime, in the period following the war soldiers find themselves alienated from the very national…show more content…
In examining Norman’s silence, the communication of trauma relies on a safe-space where personal trauma can be shared with a willing audience (Schick 1850). However while Norman imagines telling his story to his high school girlfriend, his father, or Max, he cannot. The sense of alienation Norman feels in the town is coupled with a perception “the town could not talk, and would not listen”, reflecting the local American perspective on Vietnam. While The Corpse Washer takes place in a war zone, once Norma returns to American, there is a divide between him and his home through the trauma of warfare (O’Brien 137). Unlike Norman who is permeated by the memory of Vietnam, notably the drowning death of Kiowa, the town “had no memory therefore no guilt” (O’Brien 137). While Norman carries the traumatic memory of global warfare with him into the domestic space, there is an unwillingness of the local American space to listen to the realities of war fought abroad. Rather than speak of the trauma suffered abroad, Norman traps his story inside him and allows the wound to destroy him rather break the idyllic American landscape with the reality of the horror of
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