Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien
"Going After Cacciato" is a timeless and thought-provoking work of fiction that explores the complexities of war, morality, and the human psyche. It is a gripping novel that follows the journey of a young soldier named Paul Berlin, who is part of the Vietnam War. The novel is divided into three parts, each of which covers a different phase of Paul's journey.
Part One of the novel introduces us to Paul and his comrades as they begin their journey towards Paris. We see the journey as not only physical, but also a journey of the mind as Paul struggles to come to grips with the horrors of war. The author brilliantly captures the feeling of being a soldier, with the constant threat of danger and the ever-present fear and anxiety that accompanies it. We also see Paul's relationships with his comrades and the bonds that form between them in the face of adversity.
The first part of the story culminates with Paul's decision to abandon the war and head towards Paris, which he believes will be a safe haven. This decision marks a significant turning point in the novel, and we see Paul's character evolve as he grapples with the consequences of his choice.
Part Two of the novel covers Paul's journey towards Paris with his comrades, and an enigmatic soldier named Cacciato who seems to be leading the group towards an unknown destination. As they journey through the jungles of Vietnam, Paul begins to question the morality of war and the purpose of his own existence. He also learns about the lives of his comrades and the reasons why they joined the war. The author does an excellent job of highlighting the humanity of the soldiers and the sacrifices they make for their country. We see the psychological toll of war on the soldiers and how it affects their relationships with each other.
The second part of the novel ends with Paul and his comrades reaching the border of Vietnam, and Cacciato disappearing into the unknown. This event marks a significant turning point in the novel and sets the stage for the final part of Paul's journey.
Part Three of the novel covers Paul's journey towards Paris, as he reflects on his time in Vietnam and the lessons he has learned. He encounters various characters along the way, each of whom represents a different aspect of his journey. He also has to confront the harsh reality of war, and the fact that he cannot escape it. The author does an excellent job of exploring the psychological impact of war on soldiers and the lasting effects it has on their lives. We see Paul's character transform as he comes to terms with his experiences and the lessons he has learned.
The third and final part of the novel ends with Paul finally reaching Paris and realizing that he cannot escape the war or the memories that haunt him. This ending is powerful and poignant, leaving the reader with a sense of the weight of the human experience and the lasting effects of war.
Overall, "Going After Cacciato" is a must-read for anyone interested in the complexities of war and the human psyche. It is a haunting reminder of the atrocities of war and the toll it takes on those who are forced to fight it. The author does an excellent job of exploring the psychological impact of war, highlighting the humanity of the soldiers, and the sacrifices they make for their country. It is a timeless classic that will continue to be relevant for years to come.