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Discussing Dispatches by Michael Herr.

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Dispatches by Michael Herr In Dispatches, Michael Herr uses many strategic ways of making his book effective. Herr casually dismisses the death and tragedies throughout the book and the Vietnam War. He talks about his "dreams and nightmares of the dead marines" in his house. He said unsympathetically that he deals with this by turning on his light and having a cigarette and thinking "I'd have to go out soon and cover them up" as though it was a job and he was still in Vietnam but mostly because he thinks this is real! Herr thinks he was haunted by it because it occurred several times, but for other soldiers, this continued for much longer. Herr knows he wasn't the worst affected. He knows many people have had this permanently as he says "some became inhabited and stay that way". Herr says that he doesn't want any sympathy for his traumatic dreams because he had the option to leave Vietnam at any point but he chose not to and had very little trauma compared to others - most of whom committed suicide or still having the same dreams as Herr! At the beginning of the story, Herr meets a man who once he went back home, spent his days leaning out the window aiming a rifle at every passing car - he is one of the "poor bastards" that Herr talks about. ...read more.


Herr describes the pills making you hallucinate that there is an elephant standing on his chest making him struggle for breath. This is ironic because the pills are meant to aid you but instead they have these terrible side affects. The fact was that Herr knew it was an hallucination and he seemed to know when he was going to need to take them because he says "I'd save the pills for later, for Saigon and the awful depressions I always had there". Herr meets a Lurp from the 4th division who is said to take his pills by the handful (which is in fact two handfuls). "Downs from the left pocket of his tiger suit and ups from the right, one to cut the trail for him and the other to send him down it. He told me that they cooled things out just right for him". The soldiers seem to depend on these pills to take away any fear by changing their perception of the actual fear they are facing but some people took advantage of the pills by taking too many and making themselves dependent on them. Herr knew another man from the Special Forces who had said "that he had hidden under the bodies of his team while the VC walked all around them with knives, making sure", they "stripped the bodies of their gear, the berets too, and finally went away, laughing". ...read more.


Under the ground was his, above was ours. We had air, we could get up in it but not disappear into it, we could run but we couldn't hide and he could do each so well that sometimes it looked like he was doing them both at once." Herr passionately is saying that it was unfair that they had the air and that the Viet cong had the ground, clearly it seems that Vietnam had the upper hand and Herr thinks that this is unfair. Herr also refers to Vietnam as a man and uses personification, this is very effective because it is more relatable to because most people reading this haven't been in a war but have been in a game of "stuck in the mud or in business" where they have been at a disadvantage. Therefore I conclude that Herr greatly attempts in this novel to portray the horror and trauma caused by the Vietnam War. Herr uses short, hasty sentences and writes as though he was talking it, Herr also writes it to make it relatable to the reader. One distinctive main characteristic of the book is that it is a detailed insight with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth of the Vietnam War. It is a passionate image of the stress, the death, the drugs and endless malevolent occurrences accumulating in this period and the years after it. ?? ?? ?? ?? - 1 - Gregory Dagul ...read more.

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