What would happen if you take an innocent being and place them in the midst of war? Tim O’Brien’s inspiration to write this story came from his own experience. He was drafted into the War and accepted to join the army because of his embarrassment not to, his original plans were to go to Harvard graduate school. Many individuals who go out and fight in the armed forces never expect the situations they have to observe and majority of the time have a life changing effect on the individual that may be irreversible.Order now
If innocent beings go into the war inexperienced then the outcome will result losing themselves in the war.
In Tim O’Brien’s short story, Mary Anne Bell’s boyfriend flew her over to Vietnam so that he could keep her company during the war. Because she was curious about what was going on in the country, she ventured off and began to adapt to the lifestyle of war, which created a meaningful and irreversible change. (McKee 137)
The longer Mary Anne stayed in Vietnam, the more she began to enjoy her new life and assimilate to her surroundings enough that “she seemed comfortable and entirely at home.” (O’Brien 6)Her desire to be a part of the Vietnamese culture is external in the sense that she is fully aware that “Everything wants is right here.” (O’Brien 8)
Despite of his lovesick intentions of brining his girlfriend with him to war, Mark Fossie shows a force of antagonism when he forces his engagement with Mary Anne a bit too early because he noticed that Vietnam was doing no good for her. Mark began to make plans to send Mary Anne back to Cleveland, Ohio when she clearly didn’t want to.
Inciting Incident- Mary Anne upsets the balance of forces (McKee 189) when she takes a swim in the Song Tra Bong. She thinks of it as a nice dip in the river, while the medics see it as a threat to her because of the ambushes. Eddie Diamond notices that she will eventually change into the war atmosphere, which is pretty scary.
What is the Act of Design
The film adaptation for this short story will be in the form of a full length film containing 3 acts that show Mary Anne’s transformation from a soft and innocent women into a cold, hard soldier. Act 1 will include: a detailed intro of how Vietnam during the war is, especially in the medical hootch where the four soldiers tend to the wounded casualties and will show the gory happenings that take place. Then will make a quick, mysterious appearance of the Greenies, since they will be a significant part in the later acts/scenes. We then move on to the four soldiers in Vietnam jokingly tossing around the idea of bringing a girl to Nam and a couple weeks later Mark Fossie flies his girlfriend over, revealing the story’s love motif .
Act 2 will include: a scene showcasing Mary Anne’s innocence and curiosity, wandering around the jungle and going down hill to visit the native village. Next will be a turning point, Mary Anne learns how to assemble and shoot a M-16, which made her instantly click with the war atmosphere but for the worse.
Act 3 will include: Mary Anne’s mysterious disappearance, Mark spots her with the Greenies the next morning and finds out that she went on an all night ambush. Turning point, he angrily confronts her behind closed door and when their discussion ends, they are officially engaged and Mary Anne is back to dressing like her normal self. Their relationship fades as Mary Anne fails to engage in their future plans (marriage, live in a big house, have kids). The next week Mark Fossie notices Mary Anne’s change and begins to make plans to get her back to Cleveland, Ohio. He wakes up and she is gone and the Greenies disappeared as well. Mary Anne is consumed by the jungle, never to be seen again.
Levels of Conflict- Mary Anne has an unconscious conflict, she is unaware that the war atmosphere is affecting her. Mark and some of the other medic take notice and suggest multiple times that she should go back home to Ohio, but Mary Anne believes that Vietnam is the place where she needs to be because it makes her happy.
Crisis- Because this short story is told in third hand, we cannot pin point what Mary Anne is going through internally, we don’t clearly know what decisions she has make to take one action over the other. (McKee 303) For the film adaptation Mary Anne’s decisions will be easier to read as we will make her character less mysterious by following her around her walks in the jungle and the late nigh ambushes with the Greenies. Her ultimate decision will be whether she wants to go back home and continue her life with Mark Fossie or stay in Nam.
The next action Mark Fossie and Rat Kiley witness created a change that was very clear and required no explanation (McKee 309), they found Mary Anne in a creepy candle lit room surrounded with bones and animal kill. She had a necklace of human tongues, she was mentally gone. The scene in the film will include dramatic scenery, include the creepy music played by the radio, and most importantly, the tongue necklace. To make Mary Anne’s situation clear, the necklace will serve as a symbol to emphasize her being swallowed by Vietnam instead of her taking it in is like she wanted. The novel’s slow impassive speech from the short story will still be in the film to allow the audience to see the irony in the situation yet making it evident that Nam consumed her.
The resolution in the screenplay will occur when we see Mary Anne wander off into the mountains dressed in her pink sweater and white culottes with a face painted green, representing her blending into the land and being a part of Vietnam. You come over clean and you get dirty and then afterward it’s never the same. She wanted more, she wanted to penetrate deeper into the mystery of herself, and after a time the wanting became needing, which turned then to craving. night patrols. All camouflaged up.
Because the short story is told from Tim O’Brien’s memory of a story he heard from Rat Kiley, the movie will be from Mary Anne’s point of view so that we get her side of what happened. Also bringing in more attention to the Greenies. The color green will be a motif as it creeps into Mary Anne’s life. The change in her wardrobe will change to all camouflage and her face will be painted green, instead of charcoal black like in the text.
Setting- Time Period: Vietnam War, 1955-1957 Location
A military base in the jungle of Vietnam, surrounded by mountains, green life and of course a slow moving river. We will be filming in Kauai in order to save the hassle of actually filming in Vietnam.
The M-16 gun that Mark Diamond gives to Mary Anne represents the war times so every time she has the gun in her hands, she will automatically click into this war hungry girl. The tongue necklace represents Mary Anne’s hunger for Vietnam and the craziness that over came here, this is where the medics realize that the old, sweet, innocent Mary Anne would never be the same again. Mary Anne will also serve as a symbol of the loss of innocence of those who enter the war inexperienced. She represents the innocence that men had to lose going to war.
Mark Fossie brings Mary Anne for his personal pleasure of having her there but as the weeks go by and she begins to adapt to the situations, he struggles to convince his girlfriend to go back home to Cleveland, Ohio. He takes notice that their future plans together are no longer Mary Anne’s priority and fears that he will lose her.