The sorrow of war summary. The Sorrow of War Pages 79 2022-10-25
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The Sorrow of War is a novel written by Bao Ninh, a Vietnam War veteran and former member of the Viet Cong. The novel tells the story of Kien, a young man who is drafted into the Vietnam People's Army during the Vietnam War. Kien is sent to fight against the Americans and their South Vietnamese allies, and he experiences firsthand the horrors of war.
Throughout the novel, Kien reflects on the devastating impact of the war on himself and his fellow soldiers. He witnesses the death and destruction of war, and he is forced to confront the psychological and emotional toll that it takes on him. Kien also grapples with the moral and ethical questions that arise during wartime, as he is torn between his duty to his country and his own sense of humanity.
One of the central themes of The Sorrow of War is the tragedy of war and the way it dehumanizes and destroys people. Kien and his comrades are reduced to nothing more than soldiers, fighting for their lives and their country without any regard for their own well-being. They are forced to endure unimaginable horrors, and many of them are killed or severely injured. Kien is haunted by the memories of his fallen comrades and the pain and suffering that he has witnessed.
Another theme of the novel is the loss of innocence and the way that war forces people to grow up too quickly. Kien and his fellow soldiers are thrust into adulthood before they are ready, and they are forced to confront the harsh realities of life and death. They are forced to make difficult choices and face moral dilemmas that they are not equipped to handle.
Despite the bleak and depressing subject matter, The Sorrow of War is ultimately a powerful and poignant meditation on the human cost of war. It is a poignant reminder of the devastating impact that war has on individuals and societies, and it serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of militarism and conflict.
The Sorrow of War Pages 180
She fell asleep and Kien looked at her, staggered by how callous and cold she seemed now. He himself had developed a fever, but he had also seen ghostly shapes whisking by in the night. He brought Phuong to an air-raid shelter. The nurse who treated Kien had surely died. When Phuong feebly tried to intervene, he screamed that she was a whore.
She looked for so long and then, the next day, refused to leave the school. Memories flooded him—memories of rivers, deserted villages, women. Some stayed in the central Highlands and lived outdoors, becoming hale and free. But Kien just told him to get back into the grave and prepare for death. Kien wanted to know why the commandos had bothered to kill the three women. They would lie next to each other and sway all night in the hammock, occasionally kissing and hugging.
His nose had flattened, and his cheeks had collapsed, revealing his teeth and eye-sockets. He realized that the girls were now teenagers and that they had returned to their home even though it was unsafe. Kien is all too familiar with the Jungle of Screaming Souls. Sometimes, it seemed like the writer and the narrator had the same ideas, feelings, and situations, and the narrator believed he actually knew Kien in the war. It was clear the writer wrote to write, not to publish.
He pleaded for his life, even showing Kien a picture of a woman waiting back at home for him. When Kien was 17, Hanh asked him to help her dig a small shelter beneath her bed—war was on the horizon, and the city was constantly running air-raid drills, so Hanh wanted a way to avoid running to the nearest shelter. When one of his shirt buttons popped off, he realized what he was doing and rushed out of the hole. On the train, Kien befriended When Kien reached home, he had an odd feeling as he came to his old house in the dark of night. The novel is thus at least partly autobiographical, and indeed the Communist Party of Vietnam banned the book. His new life with her was broken, impossible.
The noises caused him to remember an experience he had years before, when he and his men were stationed in the Jungle of Screaming Souls and he began to sense ghostly figures in their camp. He himself almost died in that battle, but he managed to drag himself to a shoddy field hospital, where he spent the next several months on the verge of death. Her blouse was ripped, her lips bruised, blood trickled down her leg, and her breasts were bared. They seemed confused and assured him nothing had happened—nobody, they told him, was in the hut with them. As bombs fell all around them, Kien had to fight this huge man, eventually knocking him to the floor by bashing him on the head with a pipe.
As he walked through the dark, he heard movement and halted. Even though the North Vietnamese soldiers who survived the war were ultimately on the winning side, learning how to live after seeing so much violence and death is an undoubtedly difficult thing to do. Instead, though, they went their separate ways as a result of the war, leaving Kien to wonder for the rest of his life what, exactly, Hanh had wanted to tell him. He shouted at her to halt, but she left. In the book, Kien leaves for war in pursuit of bringing back reconciliation and peace to the country and later comes back to the lost and empty society as it lacks respect and love for the people who fought in the war. He anxiously searched the premises, discovering groups of North Vietnamese soldiers camped out in other parts of the abandoned school.
Only the sorrow remained. As he looked, though, water quickly built up in the craters. He knew so little! After resting for a bit, Kien and Phuong went to a small hamlet where there was an abandoned school. He then remembered that there was a farmhouse nearby and that three young girls had lived there before the war. Phuong screamed at him not to touch her, but Kien made them move away from the train.
He had apparently stopped the other men from continuing to rape her, and now he wanted to sleep with her as his reward. He then realized she had not been alone in her room, and he realized his faith in the future was a waste. He sat in the park, smelling the spring, watching the sky and the lake. Phuong had supported herself throughout the war by earning money as a sex worker, which added a complicated layer to their relationship. Long ago, there was a small village in the area, but it was consumed by disease. Two nights passed, and Kien sensed that something strange was happening to his platoon.
They sat together, his arm around her. Kien wondered if he should have had this natural life. So he let it go on, all the while falling into dreams of Phuong, fantasizing about the love they shared as 17-year-olds. In November 2017 the Book Distributors Guild of Vietnam named the English version of Sorrow as the biggest selling Vietnamese book in the country's history. It was silent and foreboding, and there was tension in the air. It was 1966, and a nearby explosion of a bombshell struck the commander down. One night shortly after Phuong left, Kien stood in his apartment looking out the window and reliving a number of scenes from the war.
These days, Kien looks out over Hanoi and feels alone with his memories. That spring, rumors of a new war began circulating. He always thought he might go back but never did. Kien and his fellow soldiers have spent the entire war trying not to get killed, and yet Kien has seen so many of his friends die in battle. That same spring, he began to write his novel.