Since the first world war many books have been published about the experiences people have had when they were deployed, my class has recently just finished reading one these books. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers follows the story of private John Bartle and his platoon as they enter in a bloody campaign to control the Northern city of Al Tafar. Like the narrator in The Yellow Birds Kevin Powers was a soldier in Iraq for two years serving in Mosul and Tal Afar, his very own deployment had changed his whole world. A changing world could result in one’s self to change as well, whether the change is good or bad. An environment can either nurture, or drive it’s inhabitants to madness.
Kevin Powers in the past has described the problems he had when trying to describe those types of experiences that not a lot of people share, which includes the madness, and the extreme violence of war. For example in “The Yellow Birds” the main character John Bartle describes his time during war, “They lay in the dust, broken and shattered and bent, their white shifts gone dark with blood”. When I read this quote I was moved by the main character’s poetic analyzation of the dead bodies around him, almost as if the environment he grew up in didn’t even exist anymore.
To be deployed into war means to adapt to a new environment, but war isn’t always easy to adapt to. War can make soldiers or victims forget their past and their essential learnings that has made them into the human beings that they may be today, nonetheless nothing can prepare American soldiers for the toll war has. In “The Yellow Birds” the main character John Bartle gives his own input on what war does to people, for example “ We hardly noticed a change in September. But I know that everything that will ever matter in my life began then”. This quote relates to the essential question of self and changing world because it gives a reader a time sequence about what was going on at that moment, then goes right into his life and how war has changed all of that.
A changing world could result in one’s self to change as well, whether the change is good or bad. An environment can either nurture, or drive it’s inhabitants to madness. The environments that we call home have many meanings, and we have our own memories about our home. But adapting to a new environment isn’t always the easiest, it could either have a positive outcome or a negative outcome. This sort of change for many people isn’t the easiest and can introduce itself as an obstacle course that can mentally challenge one’s self. The essential question of “ What is the relationship between the self and the changing world” is a powerful message that I believe Kevin Powers has shown numerous times. During the reading of “The Yellow Birds” me and my group members were introduced to a very important character, Murph. Reading about his story and to read about his horrific death was shocking, me and my group members had come to the conclusion that in order to survive in the changing world, one must adapt to become it’s inhabitant. Although people may react in ways that they believe will help them cope , the outcome could be life changing for others.
Works Cited for Analytical Essay:
1). MailOnline, Stephanie Cross for. "THE YELLOW BIRDS." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 07 Sept. 2012. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-2199178/Kevin-Powers-THE-YELLOW-BIRDS.html>.
2). Tobar, Hector. "Kevin Powers' Haunting Iraq War Novel." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/10/entertainment/la-ca-jc-kevin-powers-20121111>.
For many generations many people have lost family members in wars that America has participated in, or lost them through their mental suffering. This is a sensitive topic that is rather difficult for people to discuss around others, although it is currently taking place in this very moment many families of soldier urge people in higher positions to provide help and service for the men and women returning from deployment. I currently have two family members that are deployed in two different countries, and one family member who recently returned to the United States from deployment. At times it is very hard for me talk about it because they helped raise me as a child when I first came to the United States many years ago, so to know that this is their job and what they have to do can be very worrying at times. Many people don’t usually realize how connected they are to each other, whether it’s through blood or through marriage. People who have family members that are deployed or have been deployed to other countries are connected in more ways than one.
Both my uncles and my cousin have been deployed to other countries, my uncle Mario is in the army and he is currently deployed in Columbia and my other uncle Alejandro recently came back from South Korea. As a child I always looked up to them and admired them, and I still do today. When I founded out that they were both going to be deployed to different countries around the same time I was really confused and at times upset, because I was around 11 or 12 I didn’t really know much about the world and the wars that were going on. Knowing that there was a possibility that I would never see them again was a feeling that I know I will never forget, at the time I felt like I was the only person going through a situation like this and at times I pushed people away who wanted to help me. It wasn’t until I enter the 6th grade when I had met people who were going through the same situation that I was going through.
As I child I always kept to myself and never really let people know how I was feeling about my family, I always thought no one would know what to do If I even let them have some information about my situation. When I enter the 6th grade I was very shy and wasn’t really interested in making friends, on the first week my teacher Ms.Palumbo gave the class our first assignment of the year. The assignment was to write a personal narrative on who our role models were, and of course I chose to write about my uncles. On the day we were scheduled to read our narratives to the class I laid my head down until it was time for me to present. One of the students in my class was called up to read his narrative, he started off explaining who his role model was and why. I couldn’t believe what I had heard, his name was Durrell and he also had a family member that was in the air force too. My head was suddenly lifted by the joy of his words. After everyone including myself had finished reading their personal narratives Durrell came to me after class and told me that he understood where I was coming from and felt what I was feeling. It was the first time I felt like I could relate with someone else and know that they understand what it feels like to be in my situation.
Many people don’t usually realize how connected they are to each other, whether it’s through blood or through marriage. People who have family members that are deployed or have been deployed to other countries are connected in more ways than one. When I met Durrell it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I didn’t have the responsibility to deal with my own problems. Knowing that there are other people that go through the same situations as me makes me feel positive about the future and hopeful that my family members and the other men and women serving will come home safe and sound.