The Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong Analysis Essay

The Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong Analysis Essay

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In “The Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong,” Rat Kiley recounts the time when Mark Fossie brought in his girlfriend, Mary Anne Bell, from Ohio to Nam. Mary Anne is a curious and very friendly seventeen-year- old girl who just graduated from high school. She constantly asks questions about the war. Tension grows between Mary Anne and Mark when Mary Anne starts to become more involved in the war. She helps with taking care of the injured soldiers and learns how to operate an M-16. Mark suggests that the two of them go back home, but Mary Anne refuses. She begins to return to the camp late at night, or not at all. One day in the early morning, Mark cannot find Mary Anne and panics, only to discover that she is out on an ambush with the Green Berets. Mark has a talk with Mary Anne in which they make plans to get married. However, over the next several weeks, an undeniable tension grows between the two. Mary Anne suddenly disappears after Mark starts to make plans for her return home. After about three weeks, Mary Anne returns to the camp and disappears into the Special Forces area, and Mark waits for her there. He hears a woman, Mary Anne, chanting along with strange music and bursts into the hootch to confront her. O’Brien uses disturbing imagery to emphasize how the war takes away one’s innocence and changes one forever.
When Mark confronts Mary Anne after she returns from the ambush with the Green Berets, O’Brien uses disturbing imagery to describe the inside of the hootch. The room’s smell has a “topmost scent of joss sticks and incense” (104), but also has “deeper and much more powerful stench [that is] thick and numbing…a mix of blood and scorched hair and excrement and the sweet-sour odor of moldering flesh—the stink of ...


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...with] no emotion in [them]” (105). Before the coming to the war, Mary Anne is sweet, innocent, and curious. But now, she has matured and looks upon the world indifferently.
After experiencing the war first-hand, Mary Anne finds her place in the world—in Vietnam with the Green Berets. When she first arrives at the camp, she is a young, innocent girl who does not know anything about the war; however, after staying at the camp for a few weeks and learning about the war, she loses her innocence. Mary Anne’s loss of innocence is reflected in the disturbing imagery used to describe the smell of the Special Forces hootch and her necklace of human tongues. Mary Anne’s true personality is shown when she is chanting along with tribal music in the Special Army hootch. She is no longer an innocent girl but is an experienced young woman with a burning passion for the war.

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The Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong Analysis Essay

- In “The Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong,” Rat Kiley recounts the time when Mark Fossie brought in his girlfriend, Mary Anne Bell, from Ohio to Nam. Mary Anne is a curious and very friendly seventeen-year- old girl who just graduated from high school. She constantly asks questions about the war. Tension grows between Mary Anne and Mark when Mary Anne starts to become more involved in the war. She helps with taking care of the injured soldiers and learns how to operate an M-16. Mark suggests that the two of them go back home, but Mary Anne refuses....   [tags: mari anne bell, change, dress]

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