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Reading Response Journal April 23, 2010

Filed under: Literature Circle Journal — jennifershirley13 @ 1:05 pm

I found a text to self connection within my reading. I made a connection with Tim. He made the statement that when his friend passed away he went to her funeral and she did not look like she was really dead. I can understand that, when my brother passed I tried to tell my self that it was not really happening. When I went to his funeral he did not look like he belonged in a casket. It did not really hit me until it touched the top of his head and it was as cold as ice. I can relate to the fact that the dead live, and I believe that my brother lives on through me and what I do and who I am as a person.


In one part of the reading Tim wants to get back at Jorgenson for his lack of esperience and care as a medic when Tim was shot for the second time. Tim went with Azar to spook Jorgenson on his night shift. After they spook him Azar wants to continue and talks Tim into continuing. If I was Tim I would have redused and gone to bed. I would have feared of being attacked and injury because Jorgenson would think I was the enemy. Tim is lucky that he can to his senses and announced his name so Jorgenson would not shoot him or Azar. Although in the end Azar kicked him in the head and called him a coward. So in the end Tim still got injured, but not as severly as he could have been.


A passage from the reading that stood out to me was, “We called the enemy ghosts. ‘Baf night,’ we’d say, ‘the ghosts are out’ To get spooked, in the lingo, meant not only to get scared but to get killed. ‘Don’t ger spooked,’ we’d say. ‘Stay cool, stay alive'” (O’Brien 202). This showed me how the soldiers dehumanized the enemy. I realized through this quote that they made the Vietnamese people into monsters instead of humans. Also I found it strange that they would say “don’t get spooked” instead of don’t get shot or don’t die. I did not realize how much the soldiers dehumanized the enemy. I knew they did to a certain degree but I did not realize that it would go to the extent of a new language devised by the soldiers.


Literature Circle Reading Response April 15, 2010

Filed under: Literature Circle Journal,Uncategorized — jennifershirley13 @ 2:46 am

A big issue for veterans is suicide. It is hard or impossible for some veterans to adjust back to normal lifer after war. Take Norman Bowker for example, he could not adjust and commited suicide. On the other hand veterans like Tim are able to easily go back to regular daily life. After the war many soldiers think that nothing is real or tangible in their lives. Some soldiers just can seem to fill the void that was ripped open by the war.


I think that it is very kind of Jimmy Cross to feel the need to write Kiowa’s father about his death. I feel bad for Jimmy Cross; he thinks that Kiowa’s death was his fault. In reality I think his death was fate. I do not think that it was Jimmy’s fault because he was only following orders and that is what soldiers are taught to do. Also, I think some of the soldiers did not realize how bad ther fields were. Some of the soldiers made jokes about the muck fields while others looked at them with shame. The soldiers that were filled with shame are the ones who looked death in the eyes.


A passage I reacted strongly to was, “I did not dlook on my work as therapy, and still don’t. Yet when I recieved Norman Bowker’s letter, it occured to me that the act of writing has led me throught a swirl of memories that might otherwise have ended in paralysis or worse. By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others. You start sometimes with an incident that truly happened, like the night in the s*** field, and you carry it forward by inventing incidents that did not occur but that noetheless help to clarify and explain” (O’Brien 158). This passage stood out to me because I think it helps clarify PTSD. Tim is basically saying that his writings are what kept the memories, nightsweats, and flash backs from flooding into his mind. Many soldiers that came back essientially lost their minds. I think that Tim stayed sane because he found a non-destructive outlet. Other soldiers might come back and find there outlet through sexual relations or alcohol, but Tim stayed healthy and found his outlet in writing. He found a way to tell his stories even if no one was around to listen.


Literature Circle Reading Response April 1st April 1, 2010

Filed under: Literature Circle Journal — jennifershirley13 @ 1:25 am

Pages 119-154
April 1, 2010
The Things They Carried By: Tim O’Brien

There are many interesting quotes within the book The Things They Carried but there was one specific quote that I reacted strongly to. The quote says, “Courage was not always a matter of yes or no. Sometimes, it came in degrees, like the cold; sometimes you were very brave up to a point and then beyond that point you were not so brave. In certain situations you could do incredible things, you could advance toward enemy fire, but in other situations, which were not nearly so bad, you had trouble keeping your eyes open. Sometimes, like that night in the s*** field, the difference between courage and cowardice was something small and stupid” (O’Brien 147). This quote spoke to me in many ways. It showed me that the soldiers were not always brave and heroic. To me this made the soldiers seen like real men rather than just robots with guns. It made me realize that in a split second you bravery could vanish and you could be considered a coward. Also, from the last sentence I found that one small decision can be the difference between a brave hero and a cowardly man at war.
I had a “light bulb moment” within this week’s reading. The passage was one describing who Tim killed and how the boy looked. The passage is on page 124 and goes into great detail. I read this passage and knew why so many soldiers face PTSD after the wars. The passage really showed me what the soldiers face when they go into the war. Tim was distraught after he killed the boy bur his fellow soldiers talked about how great of a kill it was. I think that they were just as upset though because every other word that came out of their mouths was a form of profanity. I think that when people use excessive profanity they are trying to hide their true feelings.
A passage that stood out was one talking about a medal that Norman Bowker could have won for valor. The passage states, “Circling the lake, Norman Bowker remembered how his friend Kiowa had disappeared under the waste and water. ‘I didn’t flip out,’ he would’ve said. ‘I was cool. If things had gone right, if it hadn’t been for that smell, I could have won the Silver Star’” (O’Brien 150). This passage stood out to me because it sounded like Norman was more upset about losing the chance to get a medal than he was that he just lost a friend in the war. This showed me that the soldiers are dehumanized from themselves meaning that they hide the pain in their own minds. I have to admit that it shocked me that Norman was more upset about not getting a special medal than the loss of a friend. He watched a friend slip under a deep mud pit and all he could think of was the lack of medal he had. I think that he denied himself the feelings of true sorrow by covering with the sorrow of something as shallow as a medal of valor.


Literature Circle Reading Journal: March 25th 2010 March 25, 2010

Filed under: Literature Circle Journal — jennifershirley13 @ 12:17 pm

pages 65-118
March 24, 2010
The Things They Carried By: Tim O’Brien

An interesting word choice was in the statement “D-cup guts, trainer-bra brains” (O’Brien 97). This quote was said by Eddie Diamond; he was explaining how the girl Mary Anne was brave yet very naive. She came to Vietnam for her boyfriend, but at first she did not see it as a place of war; she saw it as a vacation spot. She treated the hostile villages like tourist attractions. The soldiers thought that she would never learn the ways of war and that she would always be young and innocent. I think that the soldiers hoped she would stay innocent because she was the last bit of normalcy they could hold on to. The soldiers found that she was the one holding the camp together. They thought that by staying close to Mary Anne they could stay close to home and their own families.

The book The Things They Carried raises a lot of questions in my mind. I wonder if the stories with the book are true because Tim says that you can never really tell whether the stories are true. I wonder which ones are true and which ones are lies. I think the basis behind the mystery is the fact that not many people really know or understand what really happened in Vietnam, except for the people that were there and experience the war firsthand. I would like to find some true stories from Vietnam. I think the half true half-false stories are amusing but I think I would highly benefit from firsthand stories. I think it would be great to find true stories, but how would I ever know which ones are true and which ones are glorified lies? Tim also said that the stories that sounded crazy are more likely to be true than the stories filled with normalcy.

A passage that stood out to me was one after the death of Curt Lemon. “He stepped back and shot it through the right front knee. The animal did not make a sound. It went down hard, then got up again, and Rat took careful aim and shot off an ear. He shot it in the hindquarters and in the hump in its back. He shot it twice in the flanks. It wasn’t to kill; it was to hurt. He put the rifle muzzle up against the mouth and shot the mouth away. Nobody said much. The whole platoon stood there watching, feeling all kinds of things, but there wasn’t a great deal of pity for the baby water buffalo. Curt Lemon was dead. Rat Kiley had lost his best friend in the world”(O’Brien 78-79). This stood out to me because if they were in the states and someone did that to an animal they would be sent to the psychiatric ward, but in Vietnam it is seen as normal. This really shows me that the soldiers were completely detached from their lives before the war. This scene helped me to understand how some of the soldiers showed or did not show their emotions to others. The soldiers did not even express concern for Rat; they just stood there and watched in silence. The soldiers have learned to detach themselves from all emotion in order to survive the war.


Literature Circle Responses- The Things They Carried- March 18th March 18, 2010

Filed under: Literature Circle Journal — jennifershirley13 @ 1:28 am

Compare an Contrast All Quiet on the Western Front and The Things They Carried

“For the most part they carried themselves with poise, a kind of dignity. Now and then, however, there were times of panic when they squealed or wanted to squeal but couldn’t, when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said Dear Jesus and flopped around on the earth and fired their weapons blindly and cringed and sobbed and begged for the noise to stop and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and to God and to their mothers and fathers, hoping not to die. In different ways, it happened to all of them. Afterward, when the firing ended, they would blink and peek up. They would touch their bodies, feeling shame, then quickly hidding it. They would force themselves to stand. As if in slow motion, fram by frame, the world would take on the old logic– absolute silence, then the wind, then sunlight, then voices. It was the burden the of being alive.” (O’Brien 19).

Within these books the issue of noise is brought up many times. The issue is not only the noise you can hear, but having no time of peace. The books tell us that war is loud and never ceasing. The soldiers talk about how the few moments of silence comfort them and remind them of home. The books also relate in the sense that they explain how war can be kaotic and tragic. The books show that war is not fun and games for the soldiers on the fields, they tell us that wasr is teriffing. Also, the books show how people can die so unexpectedly and in the strangest ways. In All Quiet on the Western Front we are told that one of the toughest men is killed by a stray piece of shrapnel, and in The Things They Carried they tell us about a man who was shot in the back of the head while using the restroom. I have realized that both of the writers use a lot of imagery and symbolism to explain the ways of war to the people who have never had to experience the fear and pain. There are many similarities with these two books. I found one big similarity that is not mentioned in the passage above it was the feeling that if the men/boys did not go to war they would be considered cowards and would have been treated as out casts. Both books show that weapons and tactics may change but the basis of war will always be the same. Also, there will always be people for and against the war, but some people may not voice their opions for fear of being reidiculed. Not only were the soldiers afraid of their peers ridiculing them they also fear from there parents. I think that both of the books are very similar in the fact that war is depicted the same way and the feelings toward war are expressed.


Reading Reflection Blog 10-26 October 26, 2009

Filed under: Literature Circle Journal — jennifershirley13 @ 7:40 pm

Reading Reflection Blog

Within the book Secrets in the Fire, Sofia hears that her new legs will be her new best friends. Sofia decides to name her legs Kukula and Xitsango “short” and “long”. She decides not to tell anyone these names because she wants it to be her own secret. I find this very interesting because she talks to them. Also, she treats them as real people.


An interesting quote I found is from Manuel, an old man that is living in the same center as Sofia. Manuel says, “You should be glas you have a home…All I have is this. No family, nothing” (Mankell 95). This makes me realize that things can always be worse than what they appear to be. No matter which way you put it, you can always have a worse circumstance. Even when you think it can’t get any worse.


Another interesting quote is, “The fire won’t betray you…It keeps your secrets and never reveals them to anyone” (Mankell 93). This was said by Muanzena. This can be related to my life in the sense that I can’t alays tell who I can trust with my secrets. Sofia is very apprehensive of who she will share her secrets with, so she shares them with the fire. As I share mine with my personal journal.


October 15th Literature Circle Journal October 19, 2009

Filed under: Literature Circle Journal — jennifershirley13 @ 1:46 am

A big idea is formed when Maria and Sofia are hit by a landmine. Maria is dead and now the true story is unfolding. The main idea of the novel, Secrets in the Fire, is that landmines are hidden all over Mozambique, Africa. Sofia has caused Maria’s death. Eventhough her death is an accident, Sofia still has to live with the fact that it is her fault. Sofia also has to learn how to walk again because the doctors took her legs. Sofia is scared and just wants everything to be the way it was before the accident.


Something that really spoke to me is when Sofia is lying in her hospital bed and hears the nurse and the doctor talking about her and her sister, Maria. Sofia doesn’t understand what is going on all she knows is that she is in a lot of pain. She opens her eyes and sees her sister laying on the bed next to her. Sofia grabs her hand and Maria says, ” I want to go home” (Mankell 57). Then Maria dies in Sofia’s hands. Sofia is confused and doesn’t understand that the doctors are trying to help her rather than hurt her and rob her of her legs.


“Sofia knew that Maria had died. Her hand twitched. Then she was gone” (Mankell 57). Sofia just wittnessed her sister die, yet she has no clue what is happening. Sofia thinks her sister just got up and left to go home. Sofia is now scared, alone and wants to go home, but all she can do is sleep. This quote speaks to me because, when my brother died, all I wanted to do was go home. Little did I know that I was in my house. I wanted to go to heaven where he has his home. Now Sofia and I seem to be stuck in the world all alone. We must wait for the end of our stories. As of now, I am focusing my life on my own literature and writing.