Not Logged in.
Book Jacket

The Things They Carried


The classic, ground-breaking meditation on war and the redemptive power of ...
More about this book
Author Biography

What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

Created: 03/04/20

Replies: 9

Posted Mar. 04, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3058

What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

Rat Kiley tells a story about Mark Fossie and his girlfriend, Mary Anne, who eventually abandons Fossie for a role with the Green Berets. He says, "You got these blinders on about women. How gentle and peaceful they are. All that crap about how if we had a pussy for president there wouldn't be no more wars. Pure garbage. You got to get rid of that sexist attitude." What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?


Posted Mar. 07, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 187

RE: What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

Every person involved in that war would not be able to leave without carrying some demons. From what I have heard over the years (and it is hard to get any stories from the participants), you will never return to who you once were. The changes remain forever. Some people can handle the changes and carry on, others cannot,


Posted Mar. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 76

RE: What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

This story was the most unbelievable to me in the book. I wondered if Mary Anne could have really gotten there. The way that she became one with the elite force was strange. Maybe just strange behavior in an impossible situation.


Posted Mar. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 668

RE: What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

Lois Irene: So, if you go by the author's definition that if it seems true it likely isn't, but the more unbelievable a story is, the closer to truth it is... then this might be the truest story in the book! LOL! I agree with you, though, that it was and odd and somewhat disturbing tale, one that definitely seemed more fictional than the others.


Posted Mar. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorinned

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 176

RE: What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

Rat's assessment of the whole deal with Mary Anne - that she was, for all he knew, still alive, up in one of the mountain villes, maybe with one of the indigenous tribes. I agree with kimk regarding O'Brien's take: if the story seems true, it likely isn't; the more unbelievable the story, the closer to truth it is. I too found it pretty unbelievable that Mary Anne could have made it over there, found Fossie, and been allowed to stay in the camp with him, run off with the green berets at night on their night patrols, and then to disappear totally.
Maybe Rat was right when he said Viet Nam can have a powerful effect on a person - you come over clean and get dirty and afterwards it's never the same.


Posted Mar. 12, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
valeriec's Gravatar
valeriec

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 33

RE: What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

I wish I knew the truth, if any, of this story.


Posted Mar. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 150

RE: What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

I vaguely remember reading a story like this sometime in the past and perhaps it was even this story since the author has written for several magazines. I felt Mary Anne's transformation could have happened to a woman or a man, depending on the person and the circumstances. It reminds me of the transformation of a character in Apocalypse Now. I do agree with Rat's assessment; whether it's a man or woman makes no difference.


Posted Mar. 18, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bosuzoks

Join Date: 03/18/20

Posts: 2

RE: What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

I took this episode of the book as apocryphal - it seems plausible although highly unlikely to be true - and has a dreamlike quality to it. At the end of the chapter about her, Mary Anne was seen sliding through the shadows, wearing her culottes, pink sweater, and necklace of human tongues. This harks back to a previous chapter ("How to Tell a True War Story"), in which O'Brien writes, "The old rules no longer binding, the old truths no longer true....civility into savagery". Rat Kiley was right; the old rules (about the domesticity of women, who represent hearth and home) aren't true at all - we're all savages when placed into certain situations. I loved this chapter of the book - I loved that a young girl, brought to a savage place for the pure enjoyment of a man, turns the tables on them all and embraces the darkness.


Posted Mar. 20, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
KelHydra

Join Date: 08/05/19

Posts: 17

RE: What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

I agree about the apocryphal nature of this particular episode - it almost serves as a "morality tale", an Everyman/Everywoman comes to the war and is drastically changed in ways that are unexpected given the nature of the character beforehand. I too really liked this story. It was very much a slap in the face of traditional gender norms and values (especially of that time), and Rat Kiley definitely realized this: that women are just as capable as men of being strong leaders, powerful warriors, or troubled souls.


Posted Mar. 22, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joang

Join Date: 05/17/12

Posts: 86

RE: What did you think about Mary Anne's transformation? Do you agree with Rat's assessment?

Thank you all for the added insight! I had no idea about where this story was going....
Mystical, metaphorical, apocryphal?


Reply

Please login to post a response.