Books and Movies Reviews

In the Lake of the Woods

In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien is a novel that shows the way
the Vietnam War still holds a grip on the American psyche and some of the
reasons why this is so.The novel illuminates issues that ar reflected in
other literature, both fictional and non-fictional, regarding the war and
its effect on those who had to fight it.The My Lai massacre is not
representative of American actions in the war, but it does hold a
particular place in the effect that war had on those at home, a pubic that
was horrified at some of the things being done in its name.This
contributed both to the end of the war and to the unfortunate way many
returning veterans were treated by an unforgiving public.
The story centers on John Wade, who has run for the U.S. Senate and
who has lost because of the revelation that he participated in the My Lai
massacre during the Vietnam War.This is a secret he has hidden from his
wife–the loss of trust is a key theme in this novel.Wade himself was
trusted with a gun and a uniform and betrayed both by his actions.His
wife trusted him, and he betrayed that trust by not telling her of his
past.He has betrayed himself by hiding this issue as well, for the fact
that it has been his secret has prevented him from receiving the atonement
he needs in order to forgive himself.Because of his inability to come to
terms with his crime, he commits that crime once again.
The novel is presented in an interesting way by trying to explain the
disappearance of John Wade and his wife, Kathy.Several different
hypotheses are offered, but the plausible one is that John killed his wife
and then went off into the woods to look for her, perhaps not remembering
that he has killed her, perhaps trying only to get away.When he kills
Kathy, he is reliving the My Lai massacre that has ruined his life.He
also hides the fact of this new crime much as he hid his inv…


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