Kiley Essay

590 Words3 Pages
The platoon’s medic. Kiley previously served in the mountains of Chu Lai, the setting of “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong.” O’Brien has great respect for Kiley’s medical prowess, especially when he is shot for a second time and is subjected to the mistreatment of another medic, Bobby Jorgenson. Though levelheaded and kind, Kiley eventually succumbs to the stresses of the war and his role in it—he purposely blows off his toe so that he is forced to leave his post. The platoon’s medic, Rat has a reputation for embellishing his stories. O’Brien writes that you need to take the square root of Rat’s claims, and that would probably be close to the truth. He writes a tender letter home to Curt’s sister and is heartbroken when she doesn’t bother to reply. Although the platoon trusts him as their medic, he seems to be somewhat unstable mentally. After his friend Curt Lemon is killed, he systematically mutilates a water buffalo with his rifle. Towards the end of the novel, he comes unglued after a series of night marches and shoots himself in the foot to get out of the war. Surprisingly, the rest of the platoon seems to understand what he’s going through. Everybody, and we mean everybody, knows a guy like Rat. First of all, Rat's real name is Bob, but everybody calls him Rat. He's the guy who loves to tell stories, but makes a lot of stuff up in the stories to make them seem better and more exciting – more like he feels they should be. He's also the guy who keeps interrupting himself in the middle of his stories, digressing all over the place. As a soldier, though, he's good. Rat's the medic, so he carries all the stuff that medics are supposed to carry, plus comic books and M&Ms – you know, "for especially bad wounds" (The Things They Carried.9). When Tim is shot the first time, Rat is great. He dresses Tim's wound, gets Tim out of danger, then pops back to the battle.

More about Kiley Essay

Open Document