Society's Beliefs Revealed In Sweetheart Of The Song Tra Bong

883 words - 4 pages

 Society's Beliefs Revealed in Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong  

One steamy, humid afternoon in 1961 the first United States helicopter landed in Vietnam dispensing immature boys onto the soggy marshlands. Some would return to that same helicopter one day, whether it be wrapped in a poncho about to be taken to the morgue, lying strapped to a stretcher about to report to the hospital, or standing tall holding their heads high because they were about to return to their homelands. Tim O'Brien, one of the returning solders, put together short stories pertaining to the war and how he viewed it as well as the America's society. While reading O'Brien's stories, it would be more effective if the reader applied the New Historicist Approach taking in to consideration his and American society's beliefs, habits of thought, and biases about concepts during the 1960s. Afterwards the true image of women in combat will be revealed, the mocking of deceitful war stories, and the guilty feelings of the returning solider.

Women of the 1960s usually took the role of being a mother to her children, innocent child to her parents, and a delicate possession to men. In "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong," O'Brien describes Mary Anne Bell, a female Greenie in the making, as being: "This cute blonde-just a kid, just barely out of high school...wearing white culottes and this sexy pink sweater" (90). Through the text it is easy to uncover the direct feelings of women. The words in which O'Brien uses to describe Mary Anne, makes it sound as though she is too delicate and precious to be in a place such as Vietnam during war. Not only does this express in certain terms how O'Brien feels about women in the war, it also can be related to the thoughts of America then and now. It was unheard of for a women to go into war at that time, and it is still thought to be to "bad" for women to go into war today. Hence, women can do everything else in the military forces but go into combat; and women going into the war today is still shunned by most Americans. Throughout the story Mary Anne reaches a turning point which changes her from being the innocent female to being just one of the guys. When her boyfriend, Mark Fossie, finds out that she has been gone for numerous days with the "Green Berets" he becomes very frustrated: "After a moment, though, he set his jaw and whispered something and went after her with a hard, fast stride" (103). Therefore, as O'Brien illustrates how Fossie gets very emotional due to his girfriend becoming a hard...

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