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Going After Cacciato PDF
[PDF] Going After Cacciato PDF by Tim O’Brien
No. Of Pages: 21
PDF Size: 171 KB
Language: English
Category: eBooks & Novels
Author: Tim O’Brien
Going After Cacciato PDF

Going After Cacciato

Going After Cacciato jumps back and forth between different times in history, all of which are seen through the eyes of Paul Berlin, a young soldier who isn’t very experienced.

In the tale, Berlin and his fellow troops are in the thick of a horrific battle in Vietnam when the tale starts. Berlin’s commanding commanders are Lieutenant Corson, an elderly, ill, and sometimes senile man, and Oscar Johnson, a young, enraged officer. Cacciato, a cheery, simple-minded (and maybe mentally handicapped) soldier, goes missing one day in October 1968, after initially telling Berlin that he planned on travelling to Paris. Before Cacciato gets too far away, the troops decide to pursue him. Many of the troops, including Harry Murphy, the squad’s “big rifle” wielder, and the army medic, Doc Peret, advise Corson to return rather than risk their lives for the sake of one deserter. Corson is adamant that they go forward. Cacciato is tracked to a hill by the military, but they are unable to apprehend him before a smoke bomb goes off. The troops attempt to apprehend Cacciato as he is sleeping on a hill that night. The chapter stops before we can know what occurs next, and when the narrative picks up two days later, the troops are still hunting Cacciato in the bush.

Going After Cacciato Summary

Many chapters of the storey are set in a secret “Observation Post” overlooking the Vietnamese waters, some time after the troops have returned from pursuing Cacciato. Berlin, who is on night duty, recalls Cacciato’s insane effort to walk to Paris and wonders how he managed to avoid arrest for so long. He concludes that travelling from Vietnam to Paris “was possible”—unlikely, but not impossible. As he sits at the observation point, Berlin mulls over his tumultuous relationship with his mother and father. He recalls attempting (usually unsuccessfully) to gain his father’s affection. He also recalls making a phone call to his parents from Vietnam and being distraught when none of them answered.

Berlin also recalls his first months in the military, around June 1968. He was assigned to the 198th Infantry Brigade (the unit that observed, and in some instances, participated in, the My Lai Massacre in real life, and the brigade that O’Brien served in). Lieutenant Sidney Martin, his commander, was an arrogant and pompous guy who soon alienated his subordinates. When the troops came upon a hidden Vietcong tunnel, Martin ordered that his forces “clean” the tunnel before throwing explosives into it. Tunnel clearing was perilous work, and many of Berlin’s companions died as a result. Martin’s men despised him because he insisted on following the same method at all times.

Berlin and the other troops were still following Cacciato in late October 1968. Harold Murphy has abandoned the others and left his large gun behind, refusing to risk his life by pursuing Cacciato. The surviving soldiers come across a young lady and her two aunts one day. Sarkin Aung Wan, a young lady, reveals that they’re attempting to abandon the nation and seek refuge in the “Far West.” Berlin sees Sarkin’s attractiveness. While the troops follow Cacciato, Corson permits the three ladies to join them, but warns them that they’ll have to go their own way as soon as they discover a handy town.

According to the narrator, one of Berlin’s fellow troops, Stink Harris, almost captures Cacciato but is injured by him and must release him. The troops pursue Cacciato into Laos, escorted by Sarkin and her aunts. The gang winds up in a secret subterranean network of tunnels after falling “through a hole” there. (Though it is never confirmed, Sarkin’s aunts do not seem to have survived the fall into the hole.) The troops make their way down the tunnels until they come upon a guy named Li Van Hgoc, or Van. As Van reveals, he is a Vietcong soldier who has been imprisoned within the Vietcong’s vast network of tunnels as a punishment for attempting to leave the army. Van refuses to let the troops go, claiming that they are on opposing sides of the conflict. According to Corson, the soldiers are to encircle Van and destroy everything in his chamber. The troops leave Van and attempt, but fail, to make their way out of the tunnels. “The way in is the way out,” Sarkin declares to the men. She tugs the troops in her direction, and they “fall out” of the tunnels, emerging in Mandalay.

The troops stay at a hotel in Mandalay and spend their days attempting to trace Cacciato across the city. Berlin and Sarkin fall in love with each other. Sarkin advises Berlin that they should attempt to go to Paris and then stay there for the rest of their lives. Berlin finds Cacciato dressed as a priest one day. Berlin attempts to apprehend Cacciato, but he is overpowered by a group of Cacciato’s new pals, who are also dressed in priestly robes, and Cacciato manages to elude the troops once again. As a result of Sarkin’s report to Berlin that she observed Cacciato rushing to the next train to Delhi, the forces dragged Sarkin along with them as they pursued Cacciato to Delhi.

The troops lodge at the Hotel Phoenix in Delhi and spend their days looking for Cacciato. Lieutenant Corson befriends Hamijolli Chand, or “Jolly,” a young, handsome hotel worker. Jolly feeds the troops and Sarkin a lovely supper and says that she spent two years studying in Baltimore. Corson seems to be smitten with Jolly. A few days later, Doc Peret finds an image of Cacciato boarding a train to Kabul, Afghanistan, in the newspaper. Despite the fact that the army must go to Kabul, Corson refuses to accompany them, preferring to remain with Jolly. The soldiers seem to accept Corson’s choice, but they transport him to the train later that evening when he is quite inebriated. When Corson wakes up, he discovers that he is on his way out of Delhi. He’s upset, but he understands that he’ll have to go on.

The narrator tells us how Lieutenant Corson came to be the leader of his men via flashbacks. Lieutenant Sidney Martin was a capable leader, but he put his men’s lives in jeopardy. Several men, including Bernie Lynn and Frenchie Tucker, were killed by Vietcong forces stationed in the tunnels as a consequence of Martin’s insistence on obeying the regulations. Oscar Johnson suggested to the other troops that instead of waiting to be shot by the Vietcong, they get rid of Sidney Martin. Johnson hands a grenade to each of his fellow troops, who each touch it, showing their support for Johnson’s plan. Cacciato is the lone soldier who hasn’t touched the grenade. Johnson sent Berlin to enlist Cacciato’s help. When Berlin presents the grenade to Cacciato, everyone thinks he’s a moron, but it’s never made apparent that Cacciato knows what he’s voting for. Lieutenant Martin dies soon after, and Lieutenant Corson is sent to take his place. It’s possible that Johnson’s death caused him to die.

In the present, the troops and Sarkin pass through Kabul before continuing on to Tehran. It’s Christmas Eve, 1968, and the troops are drinking and playing cards to celebrate. Soldiers are detained in Tehran for travelling without valid documentation. They are brought to a prison, where they meet Captain Rhallon, a bright young Iranian officer. Rhallon inquires about the troops’ objective in Iran, and Doc, on the spot, says that they are chasing Cacciato to Paris in line with the alleged “Geneva Codes.” Rhallon believes this is untrue and believes that American troops have the freedom to travel through other nations without having to show their passports. He even organises a night of partying for the troops.

The troops were captured again many weeks after their initial meeting with Rhallon. Rhallon says that the soldiers are in real difficulty this time since they have no documentation of their assignment to find Cacciato, and the American Embassy in Iran has no information on American forces from Vietnam moving across the Middle East. The soldiers, along with Sarkin, are imprisoned and told they will be executed at dawn.Berlin is having a delirious dream. When he wakes up, he witnesses troops using explosives to blow open the door of their detention cell. They hurry out of the jail, get into a vehicle, and drive out of the country.

The troops go from Tehran to Izmir, where they book a ferry to Athens. The boat voyage is unremarkable, save for the troops’ surprise when they arrive at the pier and find armed police officers waiting for them, ready to make arrests. Stink Harris is so scared of being kidnapped that he leaps off the boat. The other troops somehow land and make their way past the other soldiers without being spotted.

The troops explore Athens but come up empty-handed in their quest for Cacciato. They hitchhike across Yugoslavia with a Californian girl. The troops drive from Yugoslavia to Luxembourg, then take the train to Paris. The troops arrive in Paris to discover a lovely city that is every bit as perfect as they had anticipated. Berlin and Sarkin are particularly taken aback by the city’s splendour. Despite going through the rituals of hunting for Cacciato, the troops are generally content to be in Paris. They rent rooms at a hotel, and money “isn’t an issue,” according to the narrator. Berlin and Sarkin are so enamoured with Paris that they want to purchase an apartment there and abandon their military careers entirely. Berlin informs Corson of his intention to quit the service permanently, and Corson, to his astonishment, accepts Berlin’s choice. According to Corson, the troops had already left the military and were only pretending to be on a “mission” by going to Paris.

When Berlin goes to his hotel to get the remainder of his stuff before moving into an apartment with Sarkin, he notices his fellow soldiers, including Corson, gathered outside. The Doc tells Berlin that police officials have apprehended them once again, and their only hope of avoiding incarceration is to bring Cacciato’s corpse (dead, it’s indicated), showing that their mission was legal.

Berlin and the others spend the next several days tracking down Cacciato. Cacciato was discovered by Berlin in an outdoor market one day. He follows Cacciato to a hotel and takes down the room number and location. Berlin returns to the other troops to inform them, but is taken aback when he learns that Corson and Sarkin have fled together. Oscar Johnson takes over as the troops’ new commanding officer, and he orders an ambush on Cacciato in the dead of night.

The men, sans Lieutenant Corson, hurry to Cacciato’s hotel that night. Oscar Johnson yells at Berlin to bring the large weapon inside the hotel and use it to finally “take care” of Cacciato. Berlin enters the hotel, virtually immobilised by terror, followed by the other troops. He ascends the stairwell to Cacciato’s chamber, only to discover the door open. He falls to the floor inside, but not before firing several shots into the darkness.

In the novel’s concluding chapters, the narrator returns to the day in October 1968 when Berlin and the other troops were meant to capture Cacciato at the hill in Vietnam. Although the narrator does not go into detail about what transpired when Berlin attempted to apprehend Cacciato, it is implied that Berlin shot and killed Cacciato by mistake. Cacciato is absent from action, according to Corson, who sympathises with Berlin’s error. Following that, Berlin and Doc debate the idea of being relocated to an observation post overlooking the sea, which would be a safe and secure location. Berlin is said to have fantasised about an “alternative chronology” in which Cacciato escapes all the way to Paris—that is, the novel’s preceding events—at the observation post. Lieutenant Corson and Berlin examine the probability that Cacciato was able to travel from Vietnam to Paris. Corson agreed with Berlin that Cacciato’s odds of success were limited, but not impossible.

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