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The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried

by Tim O'Brien

Haunted Vet

Character Role Analysis

Norman Bowker

Norman Bowker in Vietnam is almost the complete opposite of Norman Bowker back home. In Vietnam, Bowker is both gentle and confident. He doesn't want to talk about the horrible things that he sees. Once he returns home, though, he turns into The Haunted Vet: he doesn't understand how the A&W drive-through works anymore, he drives around aimlessly, he shocks people with his profanity, and he wants to talk about his experience, but he can't seem to make himself do it.


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