By Donald Ringnalda

A paradigm for perceiving the Vietnam conflict and the literature it produced

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Extra resources for Fighting and Writing the Vietnam War

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In turn, this obsession produced disastrous consequences for Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Americans. I speak of the futile, frenzied search for the Communist party headquarters in South Vietnam. Known acronymically as COSVN, this elusive, and perhaps non-existent, headquarters became an inverted El Dorado of the American imagination. " Exemplary literary representations can be found in Meditations in Green (1983): ''The 5th NVA regiment. Where from? Where to? How big? How good? " (44) and Dispatches: "Somewhere out there .

Ultimately, it's an artifice that is incongruous with what we did or what happened to peopleAmericans and Vietnamesein Vietnam. I say, "and Vietnamese," because it has only been recently that I've heard much at all about how the Vietnamese fit into the war's picture. Page 20 Thus, my fourth parallel concerns how most Vietnam War novels perpetuate the egregious racism that marked the American presence in Vietnam. It's common knowledge that when GIs weren't calling the Vietnamese gooks, dinks, slants, and slopes, they could be heard calling them Indians, and their habitat, Indian country.

He continues quick and dull in his clear images; I continue slow and sharp in my broken images. He in a new confusion of his understanding; I in a new understanding of my confusion. , is people tracing onto a piece of paper the name of a relative or friend who was killed in Vietnam. Anyone who has visited the memorial has observed this practice. On one hand, this gesture is sadly poignant; likely it's even cathartic. On the other hand, it also seems symptomatic of the perceptions many Americans hold of the Vietnam War, whether in the 1960s or the 1990s: when we have the name of something, we somehow also possess the thing named.

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