Many Vietnam veterans suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder. Typically, such individuals have flashbacks, dreams, and are constantly haunted by their war memories. The mental stress can lead to further complications, even physically injuring or paralyzing the human body. The book In Country by Bobbi Ann Mason portrays a prime example of such a victim. The difference? The subject is a seventeen-year-old girl in the early nineteen-eighties who never saw the war.
Posttraumatic stress disorder affects an estimated 30.9% of male Vietnam veterans and 26.9% of female Vietnam veterans, according to a survey by the National Center for PTSD (National Center for PTSD Online). Of these, most have marital and social problems, high arrest rates, alcoholic dependencies, and in many cases drug addictions. These issues are brought on by the terrors, stress, and moral headaches caused by the acts, such as killing, that they were ordered to commit during their service. While others are only mildly affected and manage to lead semi normal lives, others are rendered useless, unable to hold jobs, start families, or participate as active members of society as they are constantly obsessing, whether consciously or not, about the war. In Mason’s book, there are prime examples of each.
Emmett, the thirty something uncle of Sam, the main character, is the second type of victim. After moving back home to Hopewell after the war, he spent a few years causing mischief with his wild hippy friends. Eventually, they left, and with the ruckus, amusement, and gossip caused by their stunts, Emmett’s spirit also died, pushing him into an ever deepening low. He is unab...
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...r, Department of Veteran Affairs. Updated 1 Sept. 2003. Accessed 12 April 2004. http://www.ncptsd.org/facts/general/fs_epidemioloical.html?printable=yes
Krasteva, Yonka. “The South and the West in Bobbie Ann Mason’s In Country.” Rev. of In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason. Southern Literary Journal Spring 1994:26:2:77.
Mason, Bobbie Ann. In Country. New York: Harper Collins 1985.
Morrissey, Thomas J. “Mason’s In Country.” Rev. of In Country, by Bobbie Ann Mason. Explicator Fall 1991:50:62.
O’Brien, Timothy D. “Oppositions in In Country.” Rev. of In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason. Critique: Winter 2000:47:2:175.
Stewart, Matthew C. “Realism, Verisimilitude, and the Depiction of the Vietnam Veterans in In Country. Rev. of In Country, by Bobbie Ann Mason. Fourteen Landing Zones: Approaches to Vietnam War Literature. Ed. Jason, Philip K. p. 166
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