By Tim O'brien, a short story witten by one of his characters in The Things They Carried.
These are my reader response notes:
In the story Paul finds him self home after serving his time in Vietnam, on the 4th of July. Even though he is back in his home town, things do not seem the same to him. The war seems to have put a new spin on his life. Most of the story he spends driving in circles while thinking about the war and his lack of place in his old society.
The war becomes his whole life, and he feels as though he is to far distant from the town people for them to understand.
On its own it is the troubling tale of a young man who is unable to speak about his experiences in the war and thus is forced to relive them and the guilt they inspire. Paul Berlin circles the lake in his hometown over and over again. He can't get to the center of his problem so he always has to go around it. He cannot have a real conversation, not with his father, not with his old girlfriend, not with a stranger on a speaker at a car hop. Because he cannot confess his pain, Paul relives it over and over again.
Paul wants to talk about Vietnam, and he imagines how he would tell his father about almost earning a Silver Star, but his father is too busy to listen. As Paul continues to drive around the lake, he listens to the radio and thinks more about bravery.
“Speaking of Courage” Paul Berlin thinks he could have won the Silver Star if he had rescued Frenchie Tucker.
What is your opinion and analysis, i have the short story attached.