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English Summer Assignment: Character Development of Thomas Fowler and John Wade

Autor:   •  March 18, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,052 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,318 Views

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Having lived in different epochs of turmoil in Vietnam, Thomas Fowler and John Wade were exposed to different situations which later played a pivotal role in their character development. Thomas Fowler, although he was only a reporter of war efforts during the ‘First Indochina War’ in the early 1950’s and never played an active role in combat, was faced with some dangerous and life-changing experiences in result of the war. John Wade, however, was faced with constant danger because he was a US soldier fighting in Vietnam during the Vietnam War (AKA as the Second Indochina War) in the late 1960’s. His experiences were radically different from Thomas’s, but equally as poignant.

Our experiences are what make us who we are; they give us the perspective, insight, and characteristics that allow for individuality. Thomas Fowler and John Wade clearly exemplify this notion. Thomas developed compassion and became engagé against his initial wishes as a result of his experiences in Phat Diem where he witnessed the killing of a mother and child, the attack of a watch tower hat he was in where the two guards were killed by the Vietminh, and the bombing outside the Pavillon as a demonstration of the Third Force. He also went against his own reluctance regarding involvement of the political problems in Vietnam when he cooperated in Pyle’s murder. John’s repressive behavior also emerged from unpleasant circumstances, the most evident being that he was a part of the My Lai massacre and that in result he murdered two people. He, unlike Thomas, reacts to these situations in a negative way, although it is expected of him to react negatively because his father’s loss and already present secretive comportment changed his personality revealed to be deteriorating his life before the war, and foolishly decides that the healthiest way for him to go through life is to forget they ever happened, when in reality the many secrets he keeps are like a ticking bomb impatiently waiting to go off at the slightest remembrance of them. Thus we can deduce that these men are, in every way, products of their experiences.

War is impulsive, uncontrollable, and it almost always influences us and our decisions, whether we take part in it, encourage it, or condone it. Thomas prided himself in his neutrality, but this principle failed him during the bombing outside the Pavillon. He was moved by the sight of a man whose legs were blown off and a dead baby covered by a hat on its mother’s lap. After going through such a traumatic experience, Thomas must have felt almost responsible for knowing Alden Pyle’s involvement and not doing anything to stop him. Although Pyle’s murder was necessary to halt the spread of the Third Force, a group of Pyle’s creation whose aim was to establish democracy in Vietnam, Fowler’s friendship with this man made it all the more difficult for him to cooperate. That’s where his close contact with human misery caused by the


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