Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Sonstegard, Adam

Subject Headings

Caputo, Philip -- Criticism and interpretation, O'Brien, Tim, 1946- -- Criticism and interpretation, Herr, Michael, 1940- -- Criticism and interpretation, Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Literature and the war, Soldiers -- United States -- History and criticism, Philip caputo, Vietnam war literature, A rumor of war


Tim O'Brien and Michael Herr, two very famous Vietnam War writers, seem to have gotten war narrative theorists to conclude that Vietnam War Literature cannot be cohesive since the war itself is fragmented. Philip Caputo's memoir, A Rumor of War, seems to have taken these components of war and has carefully sewn them together to provide his reader's with a cohesive, truthful, and compelling war narrative. In O'Brien's narrative, The Things They Carried, facts are given and then called into question, making the reader wonder if any of it is true. In his narrative, Dispatches, Herr makes the reader piece together his scattered statements to gain an understanding. Caputo does the opposite of these two writers. Caputo's statements are not scattered but placed together to form a flowing cohesiveness but still showing how fragmented life was in Vietnam for the soldiers who fought there. I will be discussing each component and then looking at how they are so nicely sewn together to form Caputo's cohesive narrative. The components that I will be looking at are language, emotional/psychological toll, dream sequences, history, and flashbacks. There is also an important part of the narrative where the narrative itself becomes fragmented, as though we are looking through a camera, complete with the clicks that go with it. Each component is interesting to look at by itself but it is also interesting to look at how they fit together. There are also other little tidbits throughout the memoir that are seemingly important to the narrative, so those pieces will also be discussed. Caputo's memoir allows the reader to grasp a deeper understanding of a soldier in war