Where Have You Gone Charming Billy Character Analysis

422 WordsOct 10, 20122 Pages
Through the use of different types of communication such as writing, authors around the world try to communicate the message of how wars bring considerable fear, atrocities, and anxiety upon the society. One short story that is no exception, called “Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy?” by Tim O’ Brien, clearly portrays this message using the traits of the main character Private First Class Paul Berlin. Set in the Vietnam war, Paul Berlin, being forced to join the army, is currently living in his first hellish day of this terrifying new world. As the story progresses, Paul is determined to overcome his fear and anxiety in many unexpected ways but failed in the end. Tim O’Brien, having experienced the Vietnam War, addresses the violence of war and its hellish, inherent effects on the people’s mind through portraying Paul Berlin as fearful and mad. Throughout the story, Paul was always seen expressing fear. At the beginning of the story, as Paul and the other soldiers were on their way to the ocean, he became too fearful and started regressing Paul pretended he was not a soldier, but an innocent boy doing a campfire while chatting with his father (page 131). Another example would be the time Paul started counting his steps and pretending they are dollar bills to fight fear, which shows he was fearful (page 134). The fact that Paul regresses and starts counting his steps, which shows before entering the war he was carefree and wasn’t used to fear, explains how the violent war poses such inherent effects on Paul’s mind by turning him from such a carefree, to a fearful person. Paul also turned into a mad person temporarily when one of the other soldiers named Toby mentioned Billy Boy’s death. As a result of trying to fight fear and stress, Paul reacts in such a psychological way by laughing involuntarily, which shows he became mad (page 136). Using these
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