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The Ghost Soldiers

The Things They Carried AP Language and Composition Ms. Tarses
by

Alec Liederbach

on 1 April 2011

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Transcript of The Ghost Soldiers

The Ghost Soldiers What emotion would you have felt if you were shot like O'Brien? "At night I had to sleep on my belly... I'd lie there all fidgety and tight, then after a while I'd feel a swell of anger come on. I'd squirm around, cussing, half nuts with pain, and pretty soon I'd start remembering how Bobby Jorgenson had almost killed me" (183). Since O'Brien left the boonies and went to the hospital, he has not been as close to his fellow comrades. Indirectly, Jorgenson caused this loss in O'Brien's life. "They were still my buddies, at least on one level, but once you leave the boonies, the whole comrade business gets turned around. You become a civilian. You forfeit membership in the family, the blood fraternity, and no matter how hard you try, you can't pretend to be part of it.
That's how I felt- like a civilian- and it made me sad" (185). "'Let it ride,' [Mitchell Sanders] said. 'The kid messed up bad, for sure, but you have to take into account how green he was. Brand new, remember? Thing is, he's doing a lot better now... Say what you want, but he kept Morty Phillips alive.'
'And that makes it okay?'" (188). "'People change. Situations change. I hate to say this, man, but you're out of touch. Jorgenson- he's with us now.'
'And I'm not?'
Sanders looked at me for a moment.
'No,' he said. 'I guess you're not'" (188).
"I felt something shift inside me. It was anger, partly, but it was also a sense of pure and total loss: I didn't fit anymore. They were soldiers, I wasn't... A funny thing, but I felt betrayed" (188). Isolation Revenge/Bitterness Jorgenson has taken O'Brien spot among his comrades and completely replaced O'Brien. O'Brien feels alienated from his comrades which relates to them being "ghost soldiers." "I'd turned mean inside. Even a little cruel at times. For all my education, all my fine liberal values, I now felt a deep coldness inside me, something dark and beyond reason. It's a hard thing to admit, even to myself, but I was capable of evil. I wanted to hurt Bobby Jorgenson the way he'd hurt me" (190-191).
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