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Student Work

Pieces Created by Students for University Seminar (US 1100) Courses


The Shadow Self

Student Presentations

Video produced for Keith Needham's US 1100 Class, Fall 2016


War

By Emily Schulte

Written for Susan Dudolski's US 1100 Class, Fall 2016

I know I told you I wouldn’t bring the war home with me,
but there is dirt on the living room floor that I tracked in from countries across the world.

I know I told you I wouldn’t bring the war home with me,
but there are stains on my uniform and stains on my soul that no amount of bleach or blessing could cleanse.

I know I told you I wouldn’t bring the war home with me,
but I don’t dream anymore and closing my eyes puts me back in some godforsaken forest in the middle of nowhere instead of our bedroom.

I know I told you I wouldn’t bring the war home with me,
but the only symphonies I hear anymore are the bombshells in my head and music no longer sounds like music.

I know I told you I wouldn’t bring the war home with me,
but the man who left all those years ago is now just the shell of a human being sitting in the same chair at the head of this kitchen table.

I know I told you I wouldn’t bring the war home with me,
believe me, I do.
But somewhere along the way
home became the new warfront
and the two intertwined.


Theme Questions (Set II) 

by Grace Dzuik

Written for Dr. Jeremy Roethler's US 1100 Class, Fall 2016

The common reading assignment for this semester of University Seminar 1100 was What It Is Like to Go to War, Karl Marlantes. This book describes not only his life before and after the war, but what he went through and how he coped during the war itself. Marlantes went to the Vietnam war, just like my grandfather did. I used this book to better understand what war may have been like for my grandfather, because, understandably, he does not like to talk about it.

In chapter four, Karl Marlantes describes an aspect of war that is not really talked about, but that was very important with his war experience. "The least acknowledged aspect of war, today, is how exhilarating it is."[i] He also goes on to say how uncomfortable this may make others feel. It is quite understandable that he not only feels this way, but that it may make someone feel unpleasant about war itself. Marlantes was in charge of forty young men who were at the ages between eighteen and twenty. They were armed and were willingly ready to do whatever Marlantes asked of them. This requires great responsibility, but I also understand the rush of adrenalin that comes with this obligation. This aspect of war was definitely portrayed positively. 

The loyalty that came with the responsibility of being at war could be positive as well, but may have an emotional strain on relationships and on oneself.  Marlantes was in love with an English woman named Meg. Marlantes wanted to stay with her, even thought he was at war in Vietnam. 

The negative aspect that Marlantes described from the war was killing and guilt that comes with it.  The killing would always something that many people asked him about.  He said that a few of the questions he was asked a lot were, "How could you kill a fellow human?"[ii] or "It must have felt horrible to kill someone."[iii] He explained that the people who were asking this questions did not have to kill anyone, but he did. It was his duty, and responsibility for his team and his self. Marlantes said that there were so many people who would try to tell him how to feel, about war and killing. It made him very angry and upset that people would try to make him feel a certain way (which most of the time was completely different than what he usually felt), and think it was okay to do so.  He later went on to explain "what I feel now, forty years later, is sadness"[iv]

There was also the guilt that played a negative role. The killing is the cause, and guilt is the effect. Marlantes was asked to imagine apologizing to the family of the Vietnamese teenage male soldier he had to kill. His guilt took over him and emotions flooded out of him as he wept. "Within a minute of the apology I broke down wailing like a frightened child."[v] And later, talks about the "…terrible memories and remorse"[vi]

I believe that Karl Marlantes thinks that war is necessary, even though there are trials and tribulations that come with it (during and after). He understands that you have to kill, and that there is guilt that follows the killing. He also understands that the war may take an emotional toll on relationships of the present (of the war) and later on in the future. He does also believe that there is pride in the Marine Corps as well as risking your life for the safety of others. However, there is also people who are disgusted with the veterans, and treat them like outsiders and who steer clear of them completely. This book has really opened my eyes to what positive, but more negative aspects of war that my grandfather went through thirty-eight years ago. My grandfather, Karl Marlantes and all the other men and women who veterans in all branches in the military truly are heroes and deserve constant respect.

[i] Marlantes, Karl. What It Is Like to Go to War. Group West, Copyright 2011.

[ii] Marlantes, Karl. What It Is Like to Go to War. Group West, Copyright 2011.

[iii] Marlantes, Karl. What It Is Like to Go to War. Group West, Copyright 2011.

[iv] Marlantes, Karl. What It Is Like to Go to War. Group West, Copyright 2011.

[v] Marlantes, Karl. What It Is Like to Go to War. Group West, Copyright 2011.

[vi] Marlantes, Karl. What It Is Like to Go to War. Group West, Copyright 2011.