The book of the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien relates with issues on the war of Vietnam. The novel shows the struggle that John wade went through while trying to deal with the Senate of the United States, dealing with the issues of the missing wife and also the flashbacks that he had concerning his father. His father who was an alcoholic verbally and emotionally abused John Wade (Engles and Tim). However, he was overwhelmed by the death of his father. In my essay, I will focus on the themes that Tim O’Brien used in the novel.
Vietnam and Explanation
As the book start, the author of the book, that is Tim O’Brien return as a Vietnam Veteran, he is highly regarded due to his fiction concerning the American soldiers and the experience they have in the war of Vietnam. In the novel, Tim O’Brien put together the story of the john wade and the sources of materials with the comments and the opinions that he had. John wade is reflected as the main character that fought in the war of Vietnam which took place between the year of 1964 and 1975. The war was between communists of the north and non-communist from the south side, and the supporters of the two teams come from north and south. Tim O’Brien saw it was the best way to write this novel about the war since people could understand how the war was conducted, the tactics that were used and the communist that won in the war. Although the author explains the war of Vietnam was divided chaotically, he also aims in bringing the realism of the war as well as making the readers to rethink authorship and readings. For instance, as the novel is ending, the author separates the entity from the narrators making us decide what happened between John Wade and his wife. For us to understand what happened between John and his wife as a reader, we need to do judgment on our own to know how the wife disappeared, why John was found guilty of murder in the war of Vietnam and the responsibilities that will be put upon him. The author of the book acts as a military commander to inform the reader what happened in the entire incidence that took place in the novel.
War, Memory, and Disturbance
The struggle of John wades trying to deal with the disturbing events from his past. , and now when he becomes stressed because of the federal senate of the United States of America and the cases when his wife when missing. The situation worsened when the massacre in Vietnam took place, here the soldiers were given orders to kill both the Vietnamese children and women the reason being that they were dangerous. Those soldiers that refused to obey the law of executing the women and children they were killed together with innocent people, and it is this moment that we see John wade also killing two people that were unarmed in Vietnam (Gale and Cengage). The action of John killing these two people leads to the true definition of the trauma that is given by Sigmund Fred. There was a bad memory of killing innocent people that could not come out of the mind quickly, and at one point John could take to his father as if he was still alive although he had died long ago. John had a hard time trying to cope with the trauma and forget what had happened; it took him many years to forget. Brien also experienced the post-traumatic stress that he had with other friends that they served together in Vietnam, John says that he had a hard time dealing with the trauma although the author in the novel suggests the possible ways on how one can cope with the disturbing memories. Among the ways of dealing with the alarming mind is to stop pretending and instead address the reality to the person who you think can be of help to the situations. In this case, the author was advising John to speak out the truth as to whether he killed the wife, or the wife killed himself, or even both of them decided to run off together and by being truthful John could be able to deal with the stress, the memory and the trauma that he was experiencing. He also advised people not to pretend but rather speak out the truth for it will make lousy memory not to disturb someone as long as they are speaking the truth and no redundancy is there.
The idea of evil is portrayed when O’Brien describes the war of Vietnam. In the village of Thuan Yen when the American soldiers were told to kill innocent people who did not deserve killing, and when some soldiers refused this order they were also killed, the act is referred as the act of evil( Herzog and Tobey). The action of killing was conducted by sunlight, and at one point they suggested that the entire human had the capability of committing murder and so it was a rule that the soldier should obey the action of killing as they have been commanded. At the time of peer’s commission, American soldiers were involved in the massacre of civilian of Vietnam where American soldiers were verified and later called the monsters. In this theme, we can also say that John also practised the act of evil by killing the two unarmed people which means he exercised sin be denying them their rights of the living. As a result, he should also suffer the consequences like any other person face the punishment after coming to the criminal offence of killing. Tim O’Brien instead that people should be reliable of their mistakes because when the innocent’s people are killed, they are denied their human rights and the freedom they could have enjoyed before the real death come and so the actions of John should be condemned and also make him suffer because of the evil he did.
Appearance, Mysterious and Magic
The readers of the lake of woods become irritated because O’Brien could not reveal as to what happened to Kathy Wade hence living them to do moral judgment on what could have happened. The problem is directed to the author since he made the reader to be in the state of not knowing what happened and as a result making people have different perspectives on what could have happened to the wife of John. The novel makes us be in the life of mystery where we live without solutions and as a result living in dilemma state. The book also portrays the theme of the appearance of charm, charisma, politeness and the presence of kindness. In the novel, John is seen to appear almost everywhere; this is because one day he takes the magic while the other time he is in the politics fighting for the politics of the Senate of America. Throughout the book, O’Brien makes the audience understand things in a way that they are not supposed to want hence to believe in what they say as well as making them be a reality. For instance, the magic of psychology helps in explaining why Kathy was ready to stay with her husband John even after realising that there was something wrong with him; instead, she enjoys the secrecy of John. In this situation, it raises the question as to why O’Brien could not provide a solution to this situation where Kathy went when she disappeared. The novel presents the mysterious more than giving the answers to the incidents that took place which can be dangerous. For instance, the author cannot explain why Kathy encourages his trauma and neurosis among another incidence that took place in the novel and yet the author could not tell why the impact took place hence making things difficult since you cannot understand well everyone in the book.
love and relationships
Although the novel seems to be a war theory, it also portrays some romance in it. The characters get motivated by the love they have towards each other and the desires they have to love back. For instance, the family of the john wade portrays love and john himself shows the love he had to his wife. His father was a charming man and a likeable man although he abused, and later he kills himself (Williams and Sadie). The absence of the love of John’s father makes him perform magic and then involve himself into politics which he does as a career. John always wishes that people can still love him to make him happy and that is the reason as to why is respects them. The reason as to why John decides to join the politic is because he wants to help people and so he shows the love for the American people. The romance between John and the Minnesota people is much based on denial of information; the same happens to the love between John and his wife, Kathy. As the book comes to an end, Tim O’Brien uses another model of what the attachment can be said to be. He leaves the reader to decide on what happened between John and Kathy and whether there is the lesson learned from the couple.
In conclusion, the themes of the lake of woods, express the events that happened in the novel. For instance, the issue of the war shows how the battle took place and the communist that were involved in that war. It also explains the effects that the war caused since most of the people that were killed they were innocent and they did not deserve to die. The theme of love, the ideas of leaving the reader with a question and no solutions among all other subjects are expressed in the essay. From the issues, we can come up with the lessons that in case we have something disturbing us we should not pretend and instead we should share with the person who we think can be of good help to avoid bad memories and trauma in the brains. John Wade and his wife played a significant role in the theme as they almost appeared in all the discussed topics.
Engles, Tim. “Proof of the loop”: Patterns of Habitual Denial in Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods and Don DeLillo’s Libra.” (2015).
Gale, Cengage Learning. A Study Guide for Tim O’Brien’s” Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy?”. Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016.
Herzog, Tobey C. Tim O’Brien: The Things He Carries, and the Stories He Tells. Routledge, 2018.
Williams, Sadie. An Analysis of Tim O’Brien Storytelling Techniques in Going After Cacciato, The Things They Carried and In the Lake of the Woods Using Sigmund Freud’s Dream Theory from On Dreams. Diss. Ohio Dominican University, 2016.