Gopin after cacciatri Essay

This essay has a total of 877 words and 3 pages.

Gopin after cacciatri

oing After Cacciato


It is generally recognized that Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato (1978) is most likely
the best novel of the Vietnam war, albeit an unusual one in that it innovatively combines
the experiential realism of war with surrealism, primarily through the overactive
imagination of the protagonist, Spec Four Paul Berlin. The first chapter of this novel is
of more than usual importance. Designed to be a self-sufficient story (McCaffery 137) and
often anthologized as one, this chapter is crucial to the novel in that it not only
introduces us to the characters and the situation but also sets the tenor of the novel and
reveals its author's view of this war in relation to which all else in the novel must be
judged. In chapter 1, the plot of the entire novel is defined: A very young soldier named
Cacciato deserts, intending to walk to Paris by land. As his squad follows under orders to
capture him, Paul Berlin begins his fascinating mind-journey of "going after Cacciato," of
escape from, and later a reexamination of, the reality of war. But what is defined first,
in the first two pages to be exact, is this war's reality and its cost to the young
American soldiers involved. These pages list for us those who have died, in action and
otherwise, and those who have been maimed, at times through self-injury, underscoring the
urgency of the desire to live. These pages also vividly delineate for us the daily
miseries and sufferings of the Vietnam war, from rain and mud to disease and rotting
flesh, from monotony and fear to a profound sense of futility. As Paul Berlin narrates,
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