In the Lake of the Woods Themes

Tim O'Brien
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Ambition

John sees himself as a political figure climbing the ladder and takes that self-image very seriously from a young age. When John is involved in a massacre in Vietnam, he is horrified by his own actions and by those of his fellow soldiers. When a fellow soldier suggests that they should tell a military officer of the atrocities that occurred, he refuses, realizing what his association with those events would do for his political career. John then takes this another step and when he finds himself at a desk job he begins falsifying records in order to further remove himself from the events. He goes so far as to promote and bestow medals upon himself, fluffing up his military career in order to benefit his political ambitions. Another extreme situation occurs when Kathy becomes pregnant. It is never suggested that the pregnancy is anything other than an accident...

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This section contains 738 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the In the Lake of the Woods Study Guide
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