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Individualism and the Filter of War

IB English IOP
by

John Le

on 12 December 2012

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Transcript of Individualism and the Filter of War

Lt. Jimmy Cross "He preferred to view his men not as units but as human beings"(157).

"He tried to treat his men as individuals"(164).

"Jimmy Cross had been trained to treat them, as interchangeable units of command"(156).

"The filth seemed to erase identities, transforming the men into identical copies of a single soldier identical"(156). Rat Kiley "They were kids; they just didn't know"(66).

"Rat Kiley had lost his best friend"(75).

"He put the rifle muzzle up against the mouth and shot the mouth away"(75).

"It wasn't to kill; it was to hurt"(75).

"We sat waiting for Rat to get himself together"(76). Individualism and the Filter of War What is individualism?
"The Man I Killed" "He was not a Communist. He was a citizen and a soldier"(119).

"His wrists were like the wrists of a child"(122).

Kiowa states, "'Turn it all upside down-you want that?'"(120).

"He was afraid, and this increased his shame"(121).

When he was drafted O'Brien states, "'A sense of shame... I did not want people to think badly of me"(49).

They were both "scholars"
Things they Carried "Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers"(2).

"Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried his good-luck pebble"(12).

"Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried an illustrated New Testament"(3).

Henry Dobbins carried "his girlfriend's panthose around his neck"(111).

"Rat Kiley carried... comic books and all the things a medic must carry"(5).
Mary Anne "Just a kid, just barely out of high school" (90).

"The war intrigued her. The land, too, and the mystery"(91).

She became "a different person"(94) and "he had trouble recognizing her"(98).

"She seemed to flow like water through the dark, like oil, without sound or center"(109).
Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

"A theory maintaining the political and economic independence of the individual and stressing individual initiative, action, and interests."

"The belief that the needs of each person are more important than the needs of the whole society or group."
"His whole personality seemed out of kilter"(210).

"He took off his boots and socks... doped himself up... and put a round through his foot"(212).

"Nobody blamed him"(212).

"[Jimmy Cross] would vouch that is was an accident"(212).
VS Azar "'You scrambled his sorry self, look at that, you did, you laid him out like Shredded [expletive] Wheat"(119).

"Azar mocked the girl's dancing"(130).

"'Wasted in waste.. pure world-class irony'"(158)

"Azar moved to the dike and sat holding his stomach. His face was pale"(167).

"'Those dumb jokes-I didn't mean anything"(168).
Throughout the Novel Individuality allows O'Brien to tell the story-truth. Without individuality only the happening-truth can be told. The story-truth allows O'Brien to convey his emotions in a way that is relatable to the reader.

Ex. Happening-Truth: O'Brien killed a Viet Cong.

Story-Truth: O'Brien killed an innocent "scholar" who did not want to
fight the war.

In war there are often attempts to remove or diminish the individualistic aspects of a soldier. However, these individualistic aspects are what allow the soldiers to change with the war, whether negatively or positively. This is war's "filtering" effect.

Ex. Rat Kiley's humor allows O'Brien to stay calm when he is shot.

Ex. Azar's own cruelty allows him to escape the cruelty of war.
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