Vietnam War: Fear
In the pieces of literature “Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy?”, a short story composed by Tim O’Brien, Lily Lee Adam’s poem “The Friendship Only Lasted A Few Seconds,” and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech on America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, all share many characteristics and divvy the same purpose. With each short story or poem brings and displays anger, resentment, qualm, and apprehensiveness of fear itself. Each author portrays accusations, opinion, and observations of the war.
The short story “Charming Billy” First Private Class Paul Berlin just arrived to the war, new and scared to death, watching and expecting something, anything, but nothing happens, until the “accident” of Billy Boy Watkins. Berlin wanted and “pretended he was not in the war” (O’Brien 622) because of the anxiety he held against himself. He realized the uneasiness he withheld after the “accident,” as he often imagined himself back at home, as if nothing ever happened. Oftentimes, Berlin would mask his fear with uncontrollable laughter as a result of stress from his lack of physiological order. During the time of serving, he focused on the little things, trying to push away the aversion inside of him. Berlin always looked forward until the morning so he could adjust the leather binding on his helmet and clean his rifle. He wanted the feeling of being safe and escape the world he lived in and what he fought for.
The next literature work, “The Friendship” written by Ms. Adams, speaks of taking someone’s place and becoming the person who is needed by the loved one in the “last few seconds of their life” (Adams, 10). They would call for a loved one and she responded and became them. Even though she never lied to them, she met them and became a friend in their last few seconds. She told of when people did not understand but she knew “she got all the more back.” (Adams, 8) Why does the world forget of the last few moments or seconds of a fighter’s life? She...