The Nuclear Age Themes & Motifs

Tim O'Brien
This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Nuclear Age.
This section contains 2,049 words
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War and Death

Although William is personally never involved in a violent conflict, the specter of global wars, specifically the death and destruction they cause, give him a sort of existential anxiety that comes to define his life. These concerns can even be said to have their origin in William’s life before 1958, when he anxiously creates a fallout shelter out of a Ping-Pong table at only 12 years old. Even before that time, William’s father would recreate the Battle of Little Bighorn at a local fair each year, and would play-act dying as General Custer. This seemingly innocuous bit of local theater recurs in William’s mind as he grieves his father’s passing in 1971: even this moment has some sort of profound effect on him.

From an early age, William is incredibly conscious about the detailed realities of war. For instance, when he is 12 years...

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This section contains 2,049 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Nuclear Age Study Guide
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