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Closure at the wall an analysi

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Closure at the wall an analysi


Closure at the Wall

In the novel In Country, Bobbie Ann Mason writes about a young woman and her uncle searching to heal their scars caused by the Vietnam War. Sam Hughes, the young woman and Emmett Smith, her uncle, travel to Washington D.C. in the summer of 1984. Their destination is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial or the Wall, possibly one of the nation's most dramatic monuments. Some come to the Wall in dedication, while others need to find answers or lay something to rest; Sam and Emmett venture there for the latter.

Emmett Smith returned from the war, but it never really ended for him. He didn't come home with gun shot wounds or list limbs, but according to Sam; he shows the effects of Agent Orange. The chemical, Agent Orange, was sprayed on the dense jungles in Vietnam to make the leaves fall off of the trees. American troops often got sprayed and later suffered from various conditions, such as, skin rashes, painful headaches, breathing problems and even cancer. Sam is very concerned with Emmett's symptoms. She constantly asks him to go to a doctor and she even tells him to write into the newspaper medical columnist, Dr. Dobbs. "Why don't you write and ask him about those firecrackers in your head? And ask him why that pimple on your nose hasn't healed in two months? And why you've got pimples creeping down the back of your neck? He'll say it's Agent Orange, I bet you money" (53-54).

The war mentally upsets Emmett as well. Most veterans returned from the war and readjusted well, but this is not the case with Emmett. "After his discharge?Emmett could not adjust" (23). At first, he lived with his niece Sam, and his sister Irene, who babied him. He attempted to go to college and worked odd jobs, but neither lasted. He is left unemployed, despite the fact that he owes the V.A. over five hundred dollars for checks he continued to collect even after he quit college (28).

Since Emmett does not work, he spends his time doing various nonproductive things. For instance, many mornings he meets fellow veterans at McDonald's. During the rest of the day, he watches M*A*S*H, plays Atari, obsesses over killing the fleas that his cat, Moon Pie, brings in, and he soon begins to dig around the base of the house. Emmett says he digs because there is a leak, but really the house and its foundation symbolize the stability of his life and family. Sam is concerned with Emmett's behavior and confronts him; "You know what you're doing? You're just digging yourself a foxhole to hide in. Like the enemy was all around you. But it's not. There's a whole wide world out there. There's plenty of things to do and places to go. Don't you know that?" (190)

Despite Sam's concern for Emmett, she goes through life just as confused. Sam Hughes is an eighteen-year-old girl who lives in Hopewell, Kentucky with Emmett, her uncle. Sam has completed high school and is trying to decide what to do with the life that lay ahead of her. However, before she does this, she must discover who she is and what she longs to find. Since she has just graduated, Sam is faced with a major decision, which college to attend. Her mother, Irene, wants Sam to go to the University of Kentucky, her almumator. While Sam prefers Murray State University because it has a better track team, "she hoped to commute", and it isn't the same school her mother went to (28-29). Irene is remarried and lives in Lexington with her husband, "Lorenzo Jones" and her daughter, Sam's half sister, Heather (56). Sam lives in the past, while her mother moves on without her and proceeds to move toward the future with her new family. Irene tries to break all ties to the past whereas Sam attempts to piece them together.

Sam longs to discover the mystery of the war's effect on her. She tries to relive the war era, through listening to Beatles Records and watching M*A*S*H reruns with Emmett. Like Emmett and his feeling of worthlessness upon returning from war, Sam feels that she has no other purpose than to help resolve the problems of those close to her:

Maybe she was going nuts. It wasn't just Tom. Or just Emmett. Or Lonnie. Or Dawn's predicament. It was her. She was the center of all these impossible dramas, and somehow she was feeling that it was all up to her. But she didn't really know where she was, or ...

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Keywords: closure analysis report, wall closure, closure in architecture

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