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Full Summary of Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong by Tim O'Brien (the things they carried)
Summary of Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong (Tim O'Brien)
The story, Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong, is told by Rat Kiley to his comrades. Rat was in a camp in Vietnam during the war, where he had his first assignment in the mountains Chu Lai to run an aid station. He is known for exaggerating stories. That’s why his friends don’t always believe him and he has to make clear more than once that he really is telling the truth.
In the camp, one of the guys was joking about to bring a girl to this isolated place. Sometime later, Mark Fossie's girlfriend, Mary Anne Bell, arrived. Mary Anne Bell is an American nineteen-year old girl, who is a stereotypically American sweet person.
During her stay in the camp, she becomes more and more interested in the foreign culture of Vietnam. She literally absorbs the culture and the language and is mesmerized by the way people live in this place. Over the time, she starts to change. First unnoticed, but it becomes more serious, when she is away a whole night without anyone to tell, where she was, what made Mark Fossie very worried about her. She steadily changes her entire personality and Mark Fossie sees no other way than sending her home again (but she refuses in the end), as he was losing the person he loved. She escaped from the camp with a resistance group called "the Greenies" and found her one night in a house of the Greenies, realizing, he has lost his girlfriend forever.