Norman Bowker's Life In The Things They Carried

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Returning home from war is never an easy transition for a soldier, no soldier embodied that truth more than Norman Bowker. Bowker is a Vietnam War veteran from the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien who struggles with his life and mental health after the Vietnam War. Bowker is troubled by his dreadful memories- most specifically one memory- that he cannot forget or forgive himself for. Bowker was a man who had to fight for his life every day he was in Vietnam, there was always a chance the Viet Cong would attack. Bowker lost friends and lost fellow soldiers every day in Vietnam, he even lost his best friend to the war. He could not deal with his memories that consumed him and eventually took his own life. Bowker has an internal struggle with himself and his mind after the war, especially with the memories that eventually envelop his entire life. Bowker witnessed many terrible atrocities in his time in Vietnam. His time in the war was indicative of the future he would have after seeing what he saw. He had to witness the other soldiers in his platoon die, the enemy die, the slow but sure death of innocence in his fellow man.…show more content…
Norman Bowker had bad memories, he was a self-loather because he could not shake off the feeling he was responsible for Kiowa’s death. Pondering whether or not someone’s death is the fault of another person is always detrimental to all parties involved; the dead will never come back. Mourning is a natural response to death, conversely self-loathing is extremely harmful to everyone including the person mourned for. Crippled mentally after the war, he had no drive, and no interest in having a good life and a family. What lives inside him is an insidious beast that goes by the name of memory. Norman Bowker was a man pushed over the edge by his memories, he could not live a normal life -or any life- while dealing with his haunting

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