Fear At Its Finest... Essay - 410 Words



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Fear At Its Finest...

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Text Preview In the short story Where Have You Gone Charming Billy, Tim O’ Brien, examines a conflict with the main character Paul Berlin and his internal fear of dying. The story takes place around 1965-1973 during the Vietnam War. It is Paul’s first day at the war and he has been fighting his anxiety. He has already seen one of the twenty-six soldiers in his platoon die of a heart attack because of tripping a mine bomb. Many soldiers continuously tell Paul to just get used to the fear of the jungle however he is not able to do it. Paul was not able to stop giggling and when remembering the death of poor Billy he thinks to himself “while later poor Billy Boy stepped on the mine, and how it made a tiny little sound-poof- and how Billy Boy stood there with his mouth wide open, looking …where his foot had been blown off.” Later Billy got scared to death, which is ironic because he is supposedly “tough as nails.” Paul Berlin is unable to forget the death of poor Billy and soon he begins to laugh about the whole situation in order to hide his fears. Paul wants to make his father proud so he treats the death as a joke however he is terribly frightened and lives in the fear of dying like Billy. Because of the death of poor Billy, Paul is unable to forget, from beginning to end the fear of what could happen to him. Paul is a Private First Class soldier wishing for the war to be over and wishing he were home with his family camping. After realizing Paul may never be able to get used to the anxiety of fear he thought to himself “… guarded by three-thousand miles of ocean, and they would swim… and smell salt, and they would be safe.” In the end a fellow soldier picked him up after almost getting himself killed by laughing and blowing his cover he thinks “but even when he smelled salt … he could not stop being afraid.” Paul had no way of escaping his sense of fear and wished that was different. Every time Toby, one of Paul’s fellow soldiers, talks about the death of Billy he begins to... Show More

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