Sarah Hansen '17, Gettysburg College
Student Research Paper
Date of Creation
First Year Seminar
Twenty-seven years: the time it took after Paul O’Connell’s return from Vietnam for him to fully reflect on his war experience. O’Connell, a Marine who at the age of eighteen served in the jungles of Vietnam from October 18th, 1968 to October 1st, 1969, was a purple-heart receiving grunt who faced some of the most horrid experiences of guerrilla warfare. His memoir, Between the Lines, is a collection of his letters written home from Vietnam, and reflections about his experiences and the “between the lines” of the correspondences. Throughout his memoir, the themes of heroism, cowardice, suspicion, pride, and integrity are portrayed while his transition home exemplifies emotional and physical change, a loss of innocence, identity, and betrayal by the homecoming society. The timely letters and later reflections have similarities and differences in regards to these motifs, which serve to demonstrate how O’Connell changed after he encountered the homecoming society, and how O’Connell’s soldier’s tale is representative of all veterans. [excerpt]
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Hansen, Sarah, "Reading "Between the Lines"" (2013). Student Publications. 187.