War is a touchy subject to talk about, being that many people won’t be able to understand those who’ve been put through the experience. Soldiers come home to tell stories of some the horrible things they’ve faced while deployed. In the book, “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers, it follows a man and his experience with the war. He’s moved around a lot to different surroundings throughout the book. It’s based on a true story about the author. One theme that was incorporated often, was soldiers and their struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Being exposed to scenarios you wouldn’t encounter on a normal day, everyday in war can take a toll on their mental health. One can only be comfortable in a setting that is familiar to them. Change is something that has to be taken slowly in order to adapt. When introduced to rapid change, it can leave people vulnerable and exposed due to the delay of behavioral changes.
Bartle, the main character, and Murph, his closest friend in the troop, are put into multiple situations where their surroundings are not what they’re used to. Towards the end of the book, the troop are to be heading back to the states, leaving behind the war. Murph gets into in mindset of being back home too early, leaving him vulnerable and an easy target. One thing they’re told not to do is travel back to the states in their heads, meaning not to get too comfortable or relaxed. They’re supposed to be on guard at all times until their feet hits American soil. On page 168, Bartle and Murph were walking outside a medic unit, when they were suddenly ambushed by the enemy. They ducked for cover, having to figure out what to do. Going from off guard to back on guard with in a few seconds left Bartle with "limbs of unset jelly".
Injuries are something that most people remember. Death is something that everyone remembers. At the beginning of the book when the troop first gets to Al Tafar, they are in formation, prepared for attacks from the enemy. When a car came speeding into the area, they shot it up, knowing that there were people in the car. As they were shooting, Bartle had stopped and realize what just happened. Quoted from page 21, Bartle “wanted to tell everyone to stop shooting at him, to ask “What kind of men are we?”...who did it”. This was the first time he had killed someone before. Going from an innocent person to having to kill someone to save himself left his shock.
Kevin Powers’ idea of using the taboo of the dark part of human experiences come from his comfort level of the topic. In an interview with The Guardian, he stated that he “always had a certain level of comfort with the dark part of human experience” . Powers chose to put the taboo of dark human experiences into the book to show how it affects a person. Instead of avoiding the subject, he used it as a way of justification to show what causes people to do certain actions and how they deal with the consequences. With the topic of PTSD and this fused, it creates a possible justification for behavioral changes after the war, possibly even allowing the behavior to be dismissive, due to the case of PTSD.
Relieving the experiences soldiers have had can be painful for them, but it’s possible that it acknowledging the subject could cause them to grow comfortable with the situation. If they constantly expose themselves those experiences, it grows from being a taboo subject. It is still considered a taboo due to avoidance of recognition on the subject. As long as they keep it unfamiliar, meaning they to forget and pretend it didn’t happen, the ore of a taboo it comes. Though it shouldn’t be rushed, becoming familiar with something is what makes a person comfortable around it.
Works Cited for Analytical Essay:
Powers, Kevin. The Yellow Birds. Little, Brown, 2012. Print.
"Meet the Author: Kevin Powers." The Guardian. Ed. Tim Lewis. 23 June 2013. Web. 12 Jan. 2015.
I grew up a strange kid. I’ve always had an overly active imagination, leading to tons of imaginary friends. I did have real life friends, but they were never the type of friends who could take me on the calming adventure that my imaginary friends could. At this point, someone would probably call me mental, but I found that creating scenarios that I was able to control allowed me to feel better. Since I could control what was happening, I was able to make things go how I wanted them too, even if they were the most outrageous thing ever. I still do have moments where I’m actively doing something while “talking to myself”. I say that in quote because from the outside it appears as so. Really it’s my mind putting so much thought into the fantasy, I begin to peak out loud. Once walking home from the bus by myself at night, I had imagined myself as a merman, because of my obsession with mermaids, and I was at the beach laying in the sand, when someone got swept out by a rip current. Of course, I run into the water, gaining my tail in a few seconds , got the person close to land, then went to dry off in a private place.
It can be a tough transition into a new place, or even lifestyle. I can’t describe what it would be like to go from being a everyday civilian to harming everyday civilian to protect yourself. Between deployment and returning home, Bartle is put in a position where his mind and body must react fast to cope. Moving to my new house a few years reminds of the same situation. New people, new surrounds, and overall new lifestyle. Living in Center City and living in the cross section of Southwest Philly, West Philly, and University City, are two totally different lifestyles. It’s been nearly 9 years I’ve been in my current house and I still feel like I’m not able to go a day without constantly being on guard.
I remember that morning we all were packing up boxes of belongings and moving our beds down the stairs. I don’t remember the date exactly, somewhere between February 6th and 8th 2006. It was cool day, grey a sky overhead. The U-haul come late morning-early afternoon to load up. After dealing with a few problems, we took the trip between the 2 homes. I was leaving behind the house I grew up in. It was my family’s house, so my grandmother, aunts, and cousins stayed there. It was a unique house, much unlike the others. It was a 3-story, pink house, with an attached alley to the right. Being that it was in Center City, a block south of South street, I was lucky to be able to just walk around in a pretty big neighborhood. My new house was the opposite of that. It was a smaller 2 story house with 2 bedrooms, half of what I grew up with. Unlike my old house, there was bushes and a lawn in the front. Looking around, all the houses were identical, only proving different by the stairs and door color.Where I used to live, there were 3 kids on the other end of my block, so I never actually had people to play with. The kids on my new block had come off nice, but as time went on, I came to the realization that they were bad people. Causing trouble and messing with people was their idea of funny. They had no respect to people and their property, which left me conflicted because of me growing up in a respectful manner. It took 3 weeks being there before for my brother got into fights. Some of those fights were to protect me, which scared me. From then on, I watched what I said and did. It was uncomfortable to be outside. It sounds weird to hear that I have to cautious in what I do to be comfortable. I can’t be comfortable just being carefree now, if I spent 9 years of my life censoring myself from the people and things around me.