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The introductory readings Obriens If I die in a Combat Zone Hasfords The Short-Timers Moores The Green Berets and Obriens Going After Cacciato all share a common element - fear An integral part of each story is a sense of fear that helps to intensify the experiences being related by the author ie make the stories more realistic Without the use of fear these stories would lose much of their impact The entire experience of Vietnam pivots on fear for many of the characters in these stories In Obriens If I die in a Combat Zone the main character struggles to balance his fear with his duty to his country his town and himself So to bring the conversations to a focus and also to try out in real words my secret fears I argued for running away Combat 29 the character says He simply is torn between what he feels is a responsibility and the many parts of his fear Afraid of not upholding his pride afraid of dying in a war that was wrongly conceived and poorly justified Combat 29 and crippled by Doubtshedged all this I had neither the expertise nor the wisdom to synthesize answers Combat 29 the character simply is paralyzed by fear and because of this gets on the draftee bus without really having made a decision It was an intellectual and physical stand-off and I did not have the energy to see it to an end I did not want to be a soldier not even a observer to war But neither did I want to upset a peculiar balance between the order I knew the people I knew and my own private world It was not that I valued that order But I feared its opposite inevitable chaos censure embarrassment the end of everything that had happened in my life the end of it all Combat 34 This quote best illustrates his inability to
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