"In the Lake of the Woods" By Tim O'Brien

Essay by kcmoz10146High School, 11th gradeA-, May 2005

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" 'Hey Sorcerer,' Weatherby said. The guy started to smile, but Sorcerer shot him." What kind of dark situations could entice a man to shoot a comrade? This is what Tim O'Brien suggests in his novel, In the Lake of the Woods. As O'Brien previous works also have presented, this book deals a lot with Vietnam and the seemingly dark consequences that can distort reality for veterans. He speaks of the reaction of a broken man whose wife runs off, and no one can find her. At that point, the darkness is only just beginning.

John Wade is a very confused and utterly saddened man. As a man held highly in respect by his peers, he was a member of the Minnesota State Senate. He ran for the United States Senate a couple of years later, only to be shot down by a form of slander. Somebody discovered that Wade had been part of a group of soldiers that brutally massacred women and children in Vietnam.

After that, being completely distraught and almost crazy, Wade shot a friend and fellow soldier, PFC Weatherby. After this was discovered, Wade was defeated in a landslide in the election for the Senate. His wife, Kathy, and he went to a cabin out in Lake in the Woods, in order to get away from all of the media attention. This is when the darkness appeared once again.

"Kathy did not write back for several weeks. And then she sent only a postcard: 'A piece of advice. Be careful with the tricks. One of these days, you'll make me disappear.'" This was written to John while he was stationed in Vietnam, and he often performed magic tricks for the troops, of which he learned from his father, who had tragically hanged himself in...