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Tim OBrien is a highly acclaimed Vietnam War novelist His depictions of the war are both gruesome and disturbing OBrien achieves such reality in his books by drawing material for his novels from his own experience He uses imagination and fiction to find meaning in those experiences The passions and ideas in his novels appeal to American readers with broad differences in political allegiance and social background The novels are intimately personal psychological and explanatory In his books Going After Cacciato and In the Lake of the Woods Tim OBrien develops themes such as true courage loneliness and psychological effects of the war by using narrative techniques such as recounting thoughts and emotions of characters in order to emphasize their fantasies confusion and obsessions In Going After Cacciato the protagonist Paul Berlin cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imagined In an attempt to distinguish between illusion and reality Paul creates a continuous critical dialogue between himself and the world around him He always fantasizes about his home and his family And although his platoon succeeds in catching Cacciato near the Laotian border Berlin continues fantasizing He imagines that Cacciato constantly manages to evade them and the platoon must pursue him to Paris He dreams up grotesque adventures in countries along the route some hilarious escapades some adolescent sexual fantasies and some chilling encounters Calloway 168 His fantasies interrupt and blend into the literal story of the chase giving the narrative a nightmarish quality Berlin and his fellow soldiers are innocents trapped in a corrupt bizarre world but the only character who seems truly courageous in the story is Cacciato Eder 154 Even though his desertion is a nonsensical gesture it frees him from the compromises to which the others cling acceding to the draft fighting a war that few believe in and conforming so as to not endure shame and disapproval In In the Lake of the Woods Tim OBrien tries to
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