Task 7: Life After War

For those involved, the effects of war go on long after the final bombs are dropped or the final shots fired. Consider and discuss the post-war experiences of Norman Bowker (“Notes”), Jimmy Cross (“Love”), and Tim O’Brien (“Field Trip”), as well as those chronicled in the two articles from The Daily Beast:

Respond to the following:

  • What are some of the commonalities of returning soldiers’ experiences among all these stories?
  • Do you know any soldiers or heard other stories of soldiers who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan?  In what ways have they had difficulty adjusting?
  • What factors do you think allow some veterans to cope with their return to “the world” while others cannot?
  • How might stories be important for returning veterans?
  • Near the end of “How To Tell a True War Story,” O’Brien talks about a common response he often gets from some woman who hears his stories and tells him he should “put it all behind [him]. Find new stories to tell.” He states that “she wasn’t listening” and that “a true war story is never about war.”  Reflect on what you think he means by these statements.

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