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Things They Carried
In the story ‘Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong" in The Things they Carried by
Tim O’ Brian Mary Ann Bell goes from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Mary Ann is brought in by her high school sweetheart, Mark Fossie. They are
destined to be married and live out the rest of their lives together. In a
matter of weeks she is transformed from a cute, blonde high school girl to a
ferocious animal of the jungle. Mark Fossie first toys with the idea of bringing
her over from Cleveland and then goes through with it. "Listen, the guy sends
her the money. Flies her over. This cute blonde- just a kid, just barely out of
high school- she shows up with a suitcase and one of those plastic cosmetic
bags. Comes right out to the boonies (pg.102)." She is very young, at most
seventeen years old. She is pretty and has a great personality that all the guys
appreciate. She is never afraid of the unseen horrors of the war. She thirsts
for knowledge about everything around her. Mary Ann wants to know about
everything and her desire for knowledge leads her to the loners of the war, the
green berets. She starts by just going out on ambush with them then it
progresses more. "The way she quickly fell into the habits of the bush. No
cosmetics, no fingernail filing, cut her hair short and wrapped it in a dark
green bandana (pg.109)." She breaks it off with Mark Fossie and doesn’t want
to leave the bush. She does stuff even the greenies wouldn’t do. She stays
with them until she eventually disapears. The greenies say she’s still alive
but they’ve never really seen her again. She was one with the jungle. She was
young and innocent then became a ferocious hunter of the jungle. "She was
dangerous. She was ready for the kill (pg.125)."
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The Things They Carried, Ann Richards, Texas, Fiction
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