to kill a friend

to kill a friend - A Moral Murder A Chinese poem once told...

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A Moral Murder A Chinese poem once told of how beans grow from a beanstalk. Then, the beanstalk becomes kindling, burned for cooking the beans whom once grew from it. What brutalness comes in nature can also occur in humans. Paul Berlin, the protagonist of the novel, stalks and shoots Cacciato, his best friend, after Cacciato deserts his squad. Cacciato’s death provides a testing ground for morals. Paul Berlin’s guilt from killing Cacciato changes his perspective on the morality of violence in the Vietnam War. In the beginning of the novel, Berlin kills his closest comrade and ends up in shock. After Berlin’s bullet flies to Cacciato’s head, Berlin, “scared” from the shock of Cacciato’s brain cracking open, can only rationalize his murder as “nothing less than butchery”; Lieutenant Corson quells his shock further by reminding him “it’s still a war” (O’Brien 14). Mistakingly, Corson’s reminder provokes Berlin to think the opposite- how people can reduce violence in war. War reduces the friend to a target, an object at range. Berlin’s thinking reflects O’Brien’s purpose to degrade the morals of war. But the soldiers serve as the instruments of war, ineffectively. Lieutenant Corson, the commander of Berlin’s squad, asserts that in Vietnam, soldiers possess “no respect for nothing” and no one “got heart in war” but “doves on their helmets” (O’Brien 150). “Doves on helmets” suggest peace perching on soldiers during war. Berlin realizes that they cannot
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to kill a friend - A Moral Murder A Chinese poem once told...

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