"Unwelcome Back to the World": la distruzione del reduce del Vietnam in Paco's Story

Giulio Segato

Risultato della ricerca: Working paper


Some American historians and literary critics claim that the Vietnam War is a true break-point in American culture, even more than the two World Wars. The question that arises then is: Why was the Vietnam War more traumatic than the two World Wars, which certainly were not devoid of atrocities? The answer must be sought in the mixture of factors and in the peculiarities of the conflict in Indochina. The Vietnam War is seen by many scholars as the first postmodern war, where soldiers were unable to meet the enemy face to face and could be attacked at any time. The U.S. soldiers had no respite, they were always terrified. To this pervasive fear was added a poor cohesion between the U.S. soldiers, partly due to U.S. policy which provided a short training and only one year in the war zone. Other characteristic factors of the conflict in Vietnam were a very low average ageof soldiers, about eighteen years, and finally, actually connected to the former, the use of drugs. If we compare the U.S. soldiers of World War II to those of Vietnam the differences are immediately apparent. The former were sent to Europe (and the Pacific) after a long training, well-equipped and to fight a conventional enemy that represented absolute evil. In addition, the soldiers were brought home with very slow ships so that they could gradually absorb the shock of the war (the “decompress time”). Finally, once back home, veterans of World War II were welcomed as heroes, with grand celebrations, parades and job offers. The Vietnam veterans, on the other hand, were sent home by plane, so that only a few hours intervened between the shock of the war and the impact with civilian life. Once home, there was no celebration and the government was often disinterested in their fate. Paco O’Sullivan, the protagonist of Larry Heinemann’s novel Paco’s Story, is a Vietnam Veteran who works as a dishwasher in a bar. He is the only survivor of an attack of the VietCong that exterminated all his 92 classmates. Returning to civilian life, he’s scared and cannot deal with the normal world which seems to be hostile to him. The only person able to have a real human relationship with him is his old employer, a veteran of World War II. The other people Paco meets are just demons from whom to escape. Even when a woman tries an approach, his move will be the same: to escape
Titolo tradotto del contributo[Autom. eng. transl.] "Unwelcome Back to the World": the destruction of the Vietnam veteran in Paco's Story
Lingua originaleItalian
EditoreGenova University Press
Numero di pagine11
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2013
Pubblicato esternamente


  • Guerra del Vietnam
  • Lettteratura di guerra
  • New Western
  • Vietnam War
  • War Literature
  • War Novel


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