Going After Cacciato

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An American soldier in the Vietnam War, assigned to the same battalion as Paul Berlin, Eddie Lazzutti is an occasional friend to Paul Berlin, as well as a talented singer. When a particularly tragic event occurs among the soldiers, Eddie is often the first one to convert it to comedy, singing about it until everyone else joins in. In the main plotline of the book, Eddie is one of the only soldiers to travel all the way to Paris to track down Cacciato.

Eddie Lazzutti Quotes in Going After Cacciato

The Going After Cacciato quotes below are all either spoken by Eddie Lazzutti or refer to Eddie Lazzutti . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Broadway Books edition of Going After Cacciato published in 1999.
Chapter 10 Quotes

Then they were falling. Paul Berlin felt it in his stomach. A tumbling sensation. There was time to snatch for Sarkin Aung Wan's hand, squeeze tight, and then they were falling. The road was gone and they were simply falling, all of them, Oscar and Eddie and Doc, the old lieutenant, the buffalo and the cart and the old women, everything, tumbling down a hole in the road to Paris.

Related Characters: Paul Berlin , Lieutenant Corson , Sarkin Aung Wan , Oscar Johnson , Eddie Lazzutti
Related Symbols: Paris, Tunnels
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

Paul Berlin and his fellow soldiers have stumbled upon a secret Vietcong lair, which may or may not be booby-trapped. Berlin and his fellow soldiers fall underneath the ground, though O'Brien never describes exactly how. It's left up to us to decide whether the episode is real or imagined: certainly, American soldiers encountered more surreal spectacles during their service in the war (and the Vietcong did have a complex system of tunnels during the war), and yet O'Brien depicts the soldiers' fall underground in fantastical terms that echo Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, making us wonder if the entire scene is a dream or hallucination of some kind.

The soldiers' fall is deliberately paralleled with Cacciato's flight: Cacciato is slowly freeing himself from his duty to the military, while his fellow soldiers find themselves mired in the horrors of war. Once again, the soldiers associate Paris with peace, escape, and tranquility--and the hole into which they have fallen delays their journey to Paris. (Of course, it's worth noting that the peace and prosperity of Paris comes in part from the exploitation of poorer countries and its former colonies like Vietnam--surely a deliberate choice of symbol on O'Brien's part.)

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Chapter 16 Quotes

So in the hottest part of the afternoon, in a tiny hamlet called Thap Ro, they chose up teams according to squads. Eddie Lazzutti ripped the bottom out of a woman's wicker grain basket, shinnied up a tree, attached it with wire and slid down. No backboard, he said, but what the hell—it was still a war, wasn't it?

Related Characters: Eddie Lazzutti (speaker)
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, O'Brien portrays the complexities of war, which include times of drudgery and even play. The American troops in Vietnam are bored; they're not sure if they'll ever see real combat. A soldier named Eddie--a friend of Paul Berlin's--builds a makeshift basketball court, using a woman's basket. The image of a "ripped" wicker basket foreshadows the barbaric crimes that Eddie and his peers will commit in the near future: although Eddie is relaxed and even bored here, O'Brien foreshadows that there's violence in his future.

The passage also shows soldiers again trying to survive, not in the sense of fighting, but in the sense of preserving their sanity. In no small part, the challenge of Vietnam is to remain sane in spite of all the traumatic events the soldiers witness. Basketball games are just one of the ways that the soldiers try to mitigate their fear and anxiety.

Chapter 40 Quotes

Shrugging, glancing again into the mirror, the girl opened the door and stepped out. She watched while Oscar dumped out her suitcase and sleeping bag. She never stopped smiling.
Eddie drove, Oscar rode shotgun.
"You know," Doc said wistfully, "sometimes I do feel a little guilt."

Related Characters: Doc Peret (speaker), Oscar Johnson , Eddie Lazzutti
Page Number: 276
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, a young "hippie" woman helps the soldiers travel across the country into Paris. In spite of the woman's kindness, the troops treat her cruelly, taking her car and throwing her things on the ground without any care. Strangely, the woman continues to smile. Perhaps O'Brien intends this character to represent the innocence and foolishness of the youth movement's response to Vietnam. In the 60s and 70s, there were millions of young men and women who opposed the war in Vietnam. Often, these people treated American soldiers as mere pawns (just like the government they were opposing did)--they were more interested in arguing against the sociopolitical reasons for the war itself than they were in empathizing with individual soldiers. By the same token, the woman who drives the troops seems to respect the "idea" of fighting in the war, but also seems to make no effort to understand Paul and his friends individually.

Doc's claim that he feels guilty is meant be taken ironically--he seems to be referring to the young woman whose car he's just taken, when in fact he should be feeling guilty about the crimes he's committed in Vietnam--a morally complex issue that the young woman herself clearly doesn't understand.

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Eddie Lazzutti Character Timeline in Going After Cacciato

The timeline below shows where the character Eddie Lazzutti appears in Going After Cacciato. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...term meaning “absent without leave”). Corson asks Berlin about Cacciato’s squad—which consists of Berlin, Doc, Eddie Lazzutti, Stink, Oscar, and Harold Murphy. Corson tells Berlin that this squad, squad three, is... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...the distance—Cacciato is cooking himself breakfast. Lieutenant Corson wakes up and announces, “let’s do it.” Eddie, Oscar, and Harold Murphy proceed towards Cacciato, while Corson and the other soldiers stay behind,... (full context)
Chapter 2
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
...Sea, and it’s a little before midnight. Nearby, he sees other soldiers, such as Doc, Eddie, and Oscar, sleeping peacefully. (full context)
Chapter 6
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
...Stink kills the buffalo, the soldiers spend the night at the edge of the savannah. Eddie and Doc drag the buffalo off the road, leaving one buffalo for transportation. Then, the... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...next morning, the soldiers bury Nguyen and proceed to leave, accompanied by the three women. Eddie and Stink hitch the surviving buffalo up to the cart, and Paul Berlin decides to... (full context)
Chapter 16
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
One day in July, the soldiers arrive at a small village, Thap Ro. There, Eddie Lazzutti takes a woman’s basket and converts it into a basketball hoop. Life is dull,... (full context)
Chapter 18
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...the events of the previous chapter, and the troops have gathered together to eat dinner. Eddie raises an important question: what are the soldiers supposed to be searching for? Oscar Johnson... (full context)
Chapter 21
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
...fear and hatred. After searching and finding nothing, Berlin goes to meet with Oscar and Eddie. Neither has found Cacciato, but they come across Cacciato’s bag, which is now empty. (full context)
Chapter 22
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
The chapter begins with the narrator noting that Eddie Lazzutti loves to sing. He listens to radio broadcasts and sings along with the music. (full context)
Chapter 24
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
On the soldiers’ last day of stand-down, Eddie, Doc, Paul Berlin, and Oscar walk to the 82nd Commo Detachment, where the soldiers keep... (full context)
Chapter 29
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
The soldiers blame their arrest, the narrator explains, on each other: Eddie blames Stink, Oscar blames Eddie, etc. Eddie makes the mistake of asking a local man... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...that plays loud American music, and he orders beers for everyone. He asks Doc and Eddie to tell him about the war from which they’ve come. Doc replies that there’s nothing... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...focus on survival—if he doesn’t understand why his country is at war. As they talk, Eddie and Stink dance in the bar. (full context)
Chapter 31
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Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
As the incident of Billy Boy’s death ends, the soldiers resume their business. Eddie sings humorous songs about Billy Boy, and Cacciato offers Berlin a stick of his prized... (full context)
Chapter 33
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...After this time, Berlin is handcuffed and brought into a large room, along with Stink, Eddie, Doc, Oscar, and Corson. Sarkin is thrown into this room as well. She kisses Berlin’s... (full context)
Chapter 41
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...keeps getting larger and more complicated. When the battle finally ends, Paul Berlin, Cacciato, and Eddie Lazzutti patrol the area, searching for bodies. They find the body of a fellow soldier,... (full context)
Chapter 43
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...to Paris permanently and abandoning the search for Cacciato. But before he can explain himself, Eddie tells Berlin that Dwight Eisenhower has died—an important piece of news for Americans. Berlin decides... (full context)
Chapter 44
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...Berlin brings the soldiers to his new home, and they eat dinner there. Over dinner, Eddie proposes that the soldiers travel to Sweden. Oscar dismisses this idea, and tells his soldiers... (full context)
Chapter 46
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...troops to show them what poor soldiers they are. Oscar angrily tells Berlin, Doc, and Eddie that they’ll need to obey him at all costs. He also tells Berlin to “go... (full context)