1. "The thing is, "he wrote, "there's no place to go. Not just in this lousy little town. In general. My life, I mean. It's almost like I got killed over in Nam...Hard to describe. That night when Kiowa got wasted, I sort of sank down into the sewage with him...Feels like I'm still deep in S**t."
Page 156 TTTC
During this chapter Norman Baker has gone around the lake 11 times, just trying to see what his life is worth, if living at all makes any sense after he has come back and knows that he has seen everything that he has wanted and not wanted to see in life.
2. ...you're never more alive than when you're almost dead.
Page 81 TTTC
Right now in the book, they are talking about how they feel, when they are out on patrols. They speak about the adrenaline rushing through their veins during a firefight. They speak about how they have never felt so alive...
3. I would go to the war-I would kill and maybe die- because I was embarrassed not to.
Page 59 TTTC
During the draft for Vietnam young 19-20 year old KIDS were told that they were going off to a battle, whether they wanted to or not. It didn't matter if they believed in the cause, or if the didn't they had to go off and fight a battle for their country because the government said so.
4. "Its bad news," Kiowa said. "You don't mess with churches." But we spent the night there, turning the pagoda into a little fortress, and the next seven or eight days we used the place as a base of operations.
Page 119 TTTC
They had used this church as a safe hold for a couple of days and even the men who didn't feel a thing were worried about using the church. They might not feel a thing shooting someone, but they had morals and weren't all bad.
5. "Man, talk about the irony. I bet if Kiowa was here, I bet he'd just laugh. Eating s**t-it's your classic irony.".......... "Fine," said Norman Bowker. "Now pipe down." Azar sighed. "Wasted in the waste," he said. "A s**t field. You got to admit, it's pure world-class irony."
Page 165 TTTC
Their solider and friend, the one who seems to be the most moral and religious, has fallen after getting hit by a mortar round and sunk into the giant field of crap. The soldiers try to make a joke about it, but are soon frustrated by the idea of Azar making fun of the way their friend died.
6. The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make sprits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness. In Vietnam, for instance, Ted Lavender had a habit of popping four or five tranquilizers every morning. It was his way of coping, just dealing with the realities, and the drugs helped to ease him through the days.
Page 230 TTTC
In Vietnam all that many soldiers had was a dream that would all be okay when they came back home and that everything would be the same. The things they had to see, had to live with, were things that they actually carried along with them while they traveled in Vietnam. To ease the troubles some soldiers would take drugs, because they couldn't take seeing the same images of people dead all the time.
7. I remember walking her to the front door. I remember the brass porch light with its fierce yellow glow, my own feet, the juniper bushes along the front steps, the wet grass, Linda close beside me. We were in love. Nine years old, yes, but it was real love, and now we were alone on those front steps. Finally we looked at each other. ..."Bye," I said... Linda nodded and said, "Bye."
Page 223 TTTC
This story comes from O'Brien's younger childhood, age 9 to be exact, when he takes his first love back home from the movies. He was able then to feel and understand things at the most pure level. Just as when he was 9, O'Brien could understand what was going on in the war. He didn't understand everything about it, but he new that after it, like when young Linda died, his life would never be the same.
8. I turned and glanced behind me, where my father stood, thinking that maybe it was a joke- hoping it was a joke- almost believing that Linda would jump out from behind one of the curtains and laugh and yell out my name....... But she didn't.
Page 242 TTTC
O'Brien has just looked into the coffin of his dead girlfriend. He is now 10 years old and has just seen one of his best friends in a coffin. This helps us see that during the war it was not the first time that he has lost a friend. But during the war he seemed more used to it than when he was younger.
9. In Vietnam, too, we had ways of making the dead seem not quite so dead. Shakings hands, that was one way. By slighting death, by acting, we pretended it was not the terrible thing it was. By our language, which was both hard and wistful, we transformed the bodies into piles of waste. Thus, when someone got killed, as Curt Lemon did, his body was not really a body, but rather one small bit of waste in the midst of a much wider wastage.
Page 238 TTTC
To make the harsh reality not so bad, the would use terms and mock the bodies, to make it sound not as bad as they would. They would make jokes about when Curt Lemon was blown up against the tree, they sung the song "Lemon Tree".
I'm sitting here in a
10. I'm young and happy. I'll never die. I'm skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy's Life with a story.
Page 246 TTTC
Over the book O'Brien has been thinking that if you talk about and remember people, that they are really not dead. In the end of the novel, he really sees that what he is trying to do it make sure that he doesn't "die" and is remembered even after he is gone.