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Norman Bowker

In: Novels

Submitted By DestineeMustari
Words 537
Pages 3
Though Norman Bowker came off as a strong, courageous soldier in Vietnam, he was one of many that struggled most. Norman couldnt find himself after the war and didn't know how to move on from the experience and tragic events he endured because he lacked encouragement from the people he needed it from most. The pressure placed on Norman from the war still haunts him and handicaps his consciousness because Norman never got the reassurance and support that he vied for after coming home. Normans father played a huge role in his life and his feeling of dread after the war. he needed a push from his father and couldn't seem to feel satisfied with himself until he got that. “And his father would have nodded knowing full well that many brave men do not win medals for their bravery and that others win medals for doing nothing” (O’brien 135) Instead of feeling proud about telling his father about the medals he has won, he feels his dad won't appreciate all the medals he has earned. He comforts himself by fantasizing what a conversation with his father would be like to help him feel the reassurance he never received from him.“Sounds pretty wet; his father would have said, pausing briefly. ‘So what happened? ‘ you really want to hear this?’’Hey Im your father.’ Norman Bowker smiled. He looked across the lake and imagined the feel of his tongue against the truth”(O’brien 137). Norman tries to imagine what a conversation with his dad might be like if he really listened because he wanted his dad to acknowledge how hard he worked and how hard the war was for him and appreciate him. Because of the loneliness that Norman is feeling, he doesn't know how to cope with the fact that he can't move on from his war experience and is stuck in a place that no one else is because they have moved on with their lives,“Before the way they'd driven around the lake as friends, but now Max was just an idea, and most of Norman Bowkers other friends were living in Des Moines or Sioux City or going to school somewhere, or holding down jobs.” (O’brien 133) When Norman came home he realized that everyone was happy and off doing things with their lives but he was stuck and had nobody to turn to. In the end, Norman lacks something that everyone needs for themselves and that is motivation to better oneself. He tries to redeem himself by going to school but it doesn't work. “At one point he had enrolled in the junior college in his hometown.. He dropped out after eight months and he spent his mornings in bed.” (O’brien 149) Norman never received the encouragement and support to move on to different and better things in his life after the war. So he had no motivation or anyone to turn and talk to about it. Norman Bowker struggled because he experienced people he loved being killed at war and it got to him because when he returned to home he realized he had nothing to look forward to because no one was there for him when he needed it.

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