Going After Cacciato

Going After Cacciato

Paul Berlin Character Analysis

The protagonist of Going After Cacciato, Paul Berlin is a young, inexperienced soldier who spends the majority of the novel struggling with his own conflicted feelings about war, violence, his family, and his peers. In the main plotline of the novel, in which the soldiers chase Cacciato to Paris, Berlin strikes up a romance with Sarkin Aung Wan, but this quickly devolves when it becomes clear that Sarkin is only using Berlin to survive. We learn that Berlin has a poor relationship with his parents—but he refuses to admit it, and even tells himself repeatedly that he loves his parents to condition himself to believe a better version of reality. As the novel moves on, it becomes increasingly clear that the main plotline of the book is being imagined and fantasized about by Berlin, as he keeps watch at night over a seaside town in Vietnam. At the end of the book, we discover why Berlin feels the need to fantasize about chasing Cacciato: he was responsible for accidentally firing the shots that killed Cacciato in Vietnam. For all his youth and experience, Berlin is one of the only characters in the book who recognizes the power of storytelling: he uses his fantastic, unbelievable stories as a form of therapy, pushing himself to trade the ugly truth for a better, more optimistic version of events.

Paul Berlin Quotes in Going After Cacciato

The Going After Cacciato quotes below are all either spoken by Paul Berlin or refer to Paul Berlin. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Broadway Books edition of Going After Cacciato published in 1999.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Paul Berlin watched through the glasses as Cacciato's mouth opened and closed and opened, but there was only more thunder. And the arms kept flapping, faster now and less deliberate, wide-spanning winging motions—flying, Paul Berlin suddenly realized. Awkward, unpracticed, but still

flying.

Related Characters: Paul Berlin, Cacciato
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

He would go to Europe. That's what he would do. Spend some time in Fort Dodge then take off for a tour of Europe. He would learn French. Learn French, then take off for Paris, and when he got there he would drink red wine in Cacciato's honor.

Related Characters: Paul Berlin, Cacciato
Related Symbols: Paris
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Chapter 15 Quotes

Sarkin Aung Wan uncurled her legs and stood up.
"There is a way," she said.
The lieutenant kept studying his hands. The fingers trembled.
"The way in is the way out."
Li Van Hgoc laughed but the girl ignored it.
"The way in," she repeated, "is the way out. To flee Xa one must join it. To go home one must become a refugee."
"Riddles!" Li Van Hgoc spat. "Insane!"
Sarkin Aung Wan took Paul Berlin's hand. "Do you see?" she said. "You do need me."

Related Characters: Sarkin Aung Wan (speaker), Li Van Hgoc / Van (speaker), Paul Berlin, Lieutenant Corson
Related Symbols: Tunnels
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes

Then they were out of the water, regrouping, moving up the clay path into Trinh Son 2. Paul Berlin's head roared with quiet. Splitting—but he moved into the dark village. When Rudy Chassler hit the mine, the noise was muffled, almost fragile, but it was a relief for all of them.

Related Characters: Paul Berlin, Rudy Chassler
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

But who was he? Tender-complected, plump, large slanted eyes and flesh like paste. The images were fuzzy. Paul Berlin remembered separate things that refused to blend together. Whistling on ambush. Always chewing gum. The smiling. Fat, slow, going bald, young. Rapt, willing to do the hard stuff. And dumb. Dumb as milk. A case of gross tomfoolery.
Then he spotted Cacciato.
"That's him," he said. A bit of pastry clogged his throat. He looked again, swallowed—"That's him!"

Related Characters: Paul Berlin (speaker), Cacciato
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 24 Quotes

"Crazy," Oscar said. He kept wagging his head. "Over an' out."
It made Paul Berlin feel good. Like buddies. Genuine war buddies, he felt close to all of them. When they laughed, he laughed.

Related Characters: Oscar Johnson (speaker), Paul Berlin
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 29 Quotes

"There it is. The old man's suffering from an advanced case. Nostalgia, it comes from the Greek. I researched it: straight from the Greek. Algos means pain. Nostos means to return home. Nostalgia: the pain of returning home. And the ache that comes from thinking about it. See my drift? The old man's basic disease is homesickness. Nostalgia for the goddamned war, the army, the lifer's life. And the dysentery, the fever, it's just a symptom of the real sickness."
"So what do we do?"
"Time," Doc said. He put his glasses on. "It's the only antidote for nostalgia. Just give the man time."

Related Characters: Paul Berlin (speaker), Doc Peret (speaker), Lieutenant Corson
Page Number: 183-184
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 33 Quotes

There was great quiet. A very noisy quiet, Paul Berlin thought. He felt Oscar staring at him from across the room—a long, hard stare—as if to accuse. As if to say, Your fuckin dream, man. Now do something.
After a moment Doc Peret sighed. "Well," he said, "I guess it's time for some diplomatic pressure. By Uncle Sam, I mean. Time for Sammy to step in on our behalf."
The captain shook his head. "Sadly," he said, "that will not be possible. Certainly not productive. As I say, your government does not know you. Or chooses not to. In either case, I fear the outcome is the same."

Related Characters: Doc Peret (speaker), Captain Fahyi Rhallon (speaker), Paul Berlin, Oscar Johnson
Page Number: 228-229
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 36 Quotes

So now he ran. A miracle, he thought, and he closed his eyes and made it happen.
And then a getaway car—why not? It was a night of miracles, and he was a miracle man. So why not? Yes, a car. Cacciato pointed at it, shouted something, then disappeared.

Related Characters: Paul Berlin (speaker), Cacciato
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 40 Quotes

It would not have ended that way: cops and customs agents, defeat, arrested like wetbacks at the wharves of Western Civilization, captured within mindshot of the lighted Propylaea and Parthenon, nothing fulfilled, no answers, the whole expedition throttled just as it approached the promise of a rightful end. It wouldn't have happened that way. And it didn't.

Related Characters: Paul Berlin (speaker)
Page Number: 272
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 44 Quotes

Spec Four Paul Berlin: I am asking for a break from violence. But I am also asking for a positive commitment. You yearn for normality—an average house in an average town, a garden, perhaps a wife, the chance to grow old. Realize these things. Give up this fruitless pursuit of Cacciato. Forget him. Live now the dream you have dreamed. See Paris and enjoy it. Be happy. It is possible. It is within reach of a single decision.”

Related Characters: Sarkin Aung Wan (speaker), Paul Berlin, Cacciato
Related Symbols: Paris
Page Number: 318
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 46 Quotes

"I guess it's better this way," the old man finally said. "There's worse things can happen. There's plenty of worse things."
"True enough, sir."
"And who knows? He might make it. He might do all right." The lieutenant's voice was flat like the land. "Miserable odds, but—"
"But maybe."
"Yes," the lieutenant said. "Maybe so."

Related Characters: Paul Berlin (speaker), Lieutenant Corson (speaker), Cacciato
Related Symbols: Paris
Page Number: 336
Explanation and Analysis:

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Paul Berlin Character Timeline in Going After Cacciato

The timeline below shows where the character Paul Berlin 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
Corson calls Cacciato’s friend, Paul Berlin, to discuss Cacciato’s disappearance. Corson asks Berlin if it’s true that Cacciato has gone to... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...down Cacciato. They make their way through the mountains and forests. Before too long, Paul Berlin spots Cacciato in the distance. He can see that Cacciato is tired and lonely-looking. The... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...Cacciato. Cacciato turns, and seems to shout something back, but nobody can hear him. Paul Berlin pulls a pair of binoculars out of his bag and points them at Cacciato. Berlin... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...Late that night—around 4 AM—the soldiers, unable to sleep, sit around talking about Cacciato. Paul Berlin tells Doc Peret that he hopes Cacciato keeps moving and escapes from the army for... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
The night proceeds, and Paul Berlin finds himself thinking about Cacciato. He imagines Cacciato being murdered: his skull exploding, throwing blood... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
The next day, the squad marches through the “unpolluted country” beyond the mountains. Paul Berlin secretly enjoys the silent, steady marching—it’s certainly preferable to his usual duties as a soldier.... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...the soldiers jump to the ground, knowing that there will be an enormous explosion. Paul Berlin crouches on the ground, closing his eyes and waiting for the inevitable “Boom.” But no... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
That night, Paul Berlin dreams about Cacciato walking through the country. He still wants to believe that Cacciato could... (full context)
Chapter 2
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
An unspecified amount of time after the events of the previous chapter, Paul Berlin lies on the ground, thinking about Cacciato. He is sitting in a large tower that... (full context)
Chapter 3
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...and motions for his soldiers to continue marching toward Laos. As the soldiers continue, Paul Berlin becomes extremely tired. He falls back to walk alongside Oscar Johnson, his fellow soldier. Johnson... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...by one, they cast ballots by writing down their decisions on pieces of paper. Paul Berlin votes to continue searching for Cacciato, winning the vote for the “go-aheads.” The next morning,... (full context)
Chapter 4
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
Paul Berlin thinks about his recent past as a soldier. He was first assigned to Chu Lai’s... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
One morning during Berlin’s time at the Combat Center, he was marched to the bleachers, along with the other... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...Chu Lai participated in mock-drills, in which they were ordered to search and destroy villages. Berlin took these drills very seriously, since he thought he could die if he wasn’t well... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
After a week of training, the soldiers are assigned to their units. Paul Berlin is assigned to the 5th Battalion, 46th Infantry, 198 Infantry Brigade. For every one soldier,... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
Berlin remembers being a child and spending time camping with his father. His father, affectionately nicknamed... (full context)
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 is driven to his new Infantry Brigade. There, an officer mockingly suggests that Berlin spend... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
The chapter ends with Paul Berlin preparing for his first real day of the war—the day he’s sent out into the... (full context)
Chapter 5
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
Some time after the events of Chapter Three, Paul Berlin stays up late at night to serve as a late-night guard. He keeps watch while... (full context)
Chapter 6
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...rice with the three women. The aunts continue weeping for Nguyen. As everyone eats, Paul Berlin watches Sarkin, whom he finds very beautiful. He can’t place her age—she could be twelve,... (full context)
Chapter 7
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...they have the aunts’ remaining buffalo pulling some of them in a cart. During Paul Berlin’s time in the cart, he gets to know Sarkin Aung Wan better. He likes her... (full context)
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...aunts weep for Nguyen. Sarkin does not cry. One day, while she’s walking with Paul Berlin, she asks him if they’re traveling to Paris. Berlin replies that they might be—anything is... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
Shortly after Berlin’s conversation with Sarkin, Berlin asks Lieutenant Corson about keeping Sarkin around as a guide—she could... (full context)
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Shortly after Corson and Berlin’s conversation, the narrator explains, the soldiers “capture Cacciato.” It remains to be seen how this... (full context)
Chapter 8
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
It is 1 AM, and Paul Berlin, is keeping watch in the seaside military fort of Quang Ngai. The year is left... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
Back in the fort, Berlin remembers his father, who once advised him to “look out for the good things, too”... (full context)
Chapter 10
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
In the evening, the soldiers prepare for their walk through the jungle. Paul Berlin finds Sarkin and tells her that they’ll have to let her go soon. Sarkin begs... (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
...slowly, so that they spend as much time with the women as possible. Sarkin squeezes Berlin’s hand and whispers, “You will find a way.” Then Lieutenant Corson swats the buffalo, signaling... (full context)
Chapter 11
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
Paul Berlin marches alongside his fellow soldiers, trying not to think about what’s happened to Pederson. As... (full context)
Chapter 12
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
The chapter continues the events described in Chapter Eight. Paul Berlin continues keeping watch. He wonders how it’s possible to be brave when “biles” are flowing... (full context)
Chapter 13
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
Following the events of Chapter 11, Berlin and his fellow soldiers have fallen through the ground into a bizarre hole. Berlin reflexively... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
Suddenly, Berlin hears a noise and turns—he finds himself crouching on the ground, looking at Oscar Johnson,... (full context)
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The soldiers look around, Berlin still giggling. They are standing in a large network of tunnels, lighted with torches. Suspecting... (full context)
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...living enemy—everyone else on the opposing side of the war died almost as soon as Berlin saw them. Berlin’s mind then jumps to Bernie Lynn, who won the Silver Star for... (full context)
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...takes the soldiers to a periscope with a view of the surface. He motions for Berlin to look through the periscope. Berlin does so, but can’t understand what he’s looking at.... (full context)
Chapter 15
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The chapter begins almost immediately after the events of Chapter 13. Berlin peers through a periscope and Li Van Hgoc, who’s standing beside him, explains what he’s... (full context)
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Sarkin leads the soldiers through the tunnels. Time stretches on, and Berlin isn’t sure if the soldiers are spending hours or days in the tunnels. They go... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...along a great river, the Song Tra Bong. Frenchie Tucker is still alive, and Paul Berlin keeps busy writing letters to his parents. He writes that life is good and easy—the... (full context)
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The soldiers play pickup basketball with each other. Paul Berlin enjoys the games, but feels a deep sense of unease. The village seems calm, but... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...sewage, until they come to a ladder that leads to the streets of Mandalay. Paul Berlin walks through Mandalay with his fellow soldiers and mutters, “civilization.” Oscar Johnson notes that Mandalay... (full context)
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The narrative cuts ahead a few more hours. Paul Berlin is sitting in a hotel room with Sarkin Aung Wan, who is clipping his toenails.... (full context)
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The next morning, the soldiers leave their hotel and begin searching Mandalay for Cacciato. Berlin searches with Sarkin to help him, and he navigates through markets, churches, etc. Berlin feels... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...up early in the Minneapolis Hotel, begin searching the city, then return to sleep. Paul Berlin is particularly confused by the new routine, and he can’t imagine where Cacciato could be.... (full context)
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One day, Berlin and Sarkin are walking through Mandalay when Berlin—much to his amazement—sees Cacciato walking less than... (full context)
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Berlin approaches Cacciato, now standing at the center of the crowd. The air smells of incense,... (full context)
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When Berlin wakes up, he’s lying alone in a park, with Sarkin standing over him. Sarkin explains... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...3 AM, following the events of Chapter 12 (beyond this, the time is unspecified). Paul Berlin imagines telling his friends and family the story of how Cacciato walked to Paris. He... (full context)
Chapter 20
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The chapter begins near the start of Paul Berlin’s time in the army, with the soldiers sitting in a helicopter. Everyone is nervous, and... (full context)
Chapter 21
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It is 2 AM, December 1968, and Paul Berlin is sitting on a train, the Delhi Express, traveling away from Mandalay to Chittagong. The... (full context)
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...the aisle, waiting for Cacciato to run away, while the other soldiers search the cars. Berlin proceeds through the train, asking people for identification. Most of the passengers comply, but they... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...it all the time. Nevertheless, every letter he writes is sent to Maine—never Michigan. Paul Berlin is fascinated with Johnson—he thinks that Johnson is half performing, half being, to the point... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...studied at Johns Hopkins for two years, and knows American culture well. As Jolly talks, Berlin is reminded of his own mother, for reasons he can’t entirely explain. Jolly has a... (full context)
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The evening goes on, and Berlin spends time with Sarkin, drinking brandy and kissing her neck. Meanwhile, Corson is still talking... (full context)
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...soldiers speculate that Corson has slept with Jolly, and say that Jolly is a “phony.” Berlin goes for a walk. He returns in the afternoon and notices Corson sitting with Jolly... (full context)
Chapter 24
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It is August, and Paul Berlin’s platoon travels to Chu Lai for a “stand-down” that will last one week. The soldiers... (full context)
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On the soldiers’ last day of stand-down, Eddie, Doc, Paul Berlin, and Oscar walk to the 82nd Commo Detachment, where the soldiers keep the army’s radio... (full context)
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...out of the soundproof rooms looking choked up, as if their calls have been tragic. Berlin feels mature as he looks at Doc and Oscar—he and his friends are “genuine war... (full context)
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Berlin goes to place his call. Inside the soundproof room, he places a call to his... (full context)
Chapter 25
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During Berlin’s early days as a soldier, Lieutenant Sidney Martin orders his soldiers through the mountains. There... (full context)
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...strength for the fighting—a difficult task, since walking through the mountains requires enormous energy. Paul Berlin—still an inexperienced soldier—notes that Martin seems not to enjoy battles. He has a handsome, refined... (full context)
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Paul Berlin proceeds with climbing through the mountains, unsure of what will be waiting for him on... (full context)
Chapter 26
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...Chapter 23. The soldiers are still in Delhi, and Cacciato is nowhere in sight. Paul Berlin spends nearly all of his time with Sarkin. They go shopping for clothing and jewelry,... (full context)
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One day, Corson shows Berlin a copy of the local newspaper. Amazingly, there is a photograph of Cacciato on the... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Paul Berlin watches Corson smoke his cigarette, and thinks back to his own experiences earlier in the... (full context)
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...The mayor tells the soldiers that “God’s will is always stronger than man’s will.” Paul Berlin is especially fascinated by the mayor—a charismatic, mysterious man. The mayor stares at Berlin, and... (full context)
Chapter 28
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Berlin thinks about what the mayor has told him. He thinks to himself that he does... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...drives through the crowd, very slowly. Doc seems to understand what’s happening, and he tells Berlin to watch closely. A police officer emerges from the van, leading behind him a young... (full context)
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Berlin watches, unable to look away, as the young man’s head is pushed to a block.... (full context)
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As the other soldiers dance and argue, Paul Berlin dances with Sarkin. Berlin overhears Doc telling Captain Rhallon “the ultimate war story”—the story of... (full context)
Chapter 30
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It is 4 AM, and Berlin is keeping watch. Less than an hour remains before dawn. He thinks about his experiences... (full context)
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To help himself make sense of his situation, Berlin decides to think about his early days as a soldier, and how he came to... (full context)
Chapter 31
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The chapter concerns Paul Berlin’s early experiences in the army. He and the other soldiers of his platoon are marching... (full context)
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Berlin thinks about the death of Billy Boy Watkins, which has happened only a few days... (full context)
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Paul Berlin tries to concentrate on forgetting the details of Billy Boy’s death, but the harder he... (full context)
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Berlin continues laughing, and as he laughs, he remembers the day that Billy Boy died. The... (full context)
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Berlin continues to remember Billy Boy’s death. After losing his foot, Billy Boy felt a sudden... (full context)
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...the soldiers resume their business. Eddie sings humorous songs about Billy Boy, and Cacciato offers Berlin a stick of his prized Black Jack gum. He tells Berlin, “You’ll do fine. You... (full context)
Chapter 32
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It is 4:30 AM. Berlin sits, keeping watch and thinking about Billy Boy. He decides that there’s nothing especially interesting... (full context)
Chapter 33
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...arrested for a second time in Tehran, early on the morning of February 10th. Paul Berlin spends the next eight days alone in a prison cell, wondering what is happening to... (full context)
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Inside his new prison room, Berlin asks Oscar why they were arrested. Before Oscar can answer, Captain Rhallon walks through the... (full context)
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As Berlin waits for Rhallon’s help, he thinks back on his past. He played baseball games as... (full context)
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...responds by hitting Oscar on the nose, very hard. Oscar falls to the floor. Paul Berlin can’t stop smiling and giggling—something which annoys the officer considerably. Stink mutters that the officer... (full context)
Chapter 34
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At the beginning of Berlin’s military service, shortly after the deaths of Frenchie Tucker and Bernie Lynn, Oscar Johnson is... (full context)
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...a sign of support. He passes it around the group, and each soldier touches it. Berlin is the last to touch the grenade—he’s been trying to forget where he is by... (full context)
Chapter 35
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Paul Berlin and Cacciato are fishing together, shortly after the events of the last chapter. Cacciato complains... (full context)
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Suddenly, Berlin produces a grenade and tells Cacciato that the soldiers want Cacciato to touch it. Cacciato... (full context)
Chapter 36
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...their cell. There, Doc and Oscar write letters, while most of the soldiers sleep. Paul Berlin can’t sleep—he stays up, wondering what will happen next. Eventually he falls asleep, thinking of... (full context)
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In his dreams, Berlin imagines Cacciato’s round face. Suddenly, he feels Sarkin shaking him awake. Sarkin tells him that... (full context)
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Berlin runs away from his cell. Outside, he continues running, and imagines a getaway car, too—“why... (full context)
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The soldiers continue to drive away from their pursuers. They’re silent, but extremely tense. Berlin looks out the window of the car and sees the stars and the mountains in... (full context)
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Oscar tells Berlin to take the wheel while he gets some rest. Berlin obliges. They drive for hours,... (full context)
Chapter 37
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The chapter opens, “What Paul Berlin knew best was land.” He knows the land of Quang Ngai (the site of his... (full context)
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Berlin acquaints himself with the village of Quang Ngai, near which he and his fellow soldiers... (full context)
Chapter 39
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Earlier in 1968, when Berlin, Stink, and the other soldiers were busy patrolling the village of Quang Ngai, Stink garnered... (full context)
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Berlin privately wonders about the villagers whom he and his fellow soldiers are threatening. Some of... (full context)
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In September, Paul Berlin is summoned before the battalion promotion board. At the board, Berlin learns that he’s up... (full context)
Chapter 40
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The chapter begins immediately after the events of Chapter 38. The narrator explains that Berlin and his fellow soldiers “would not have been captured” in Greece. Berlin and his fellow... (full context)
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...girl explains, is made up entirely of people who are sympathetic to deserters. They’ll help Berlin and his friends get airplane tickets, jobs, passports, and anything else they need. (full context)
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...and Sarkin into Germany. They pass by the Danube. “It was easy,” the narrator maintains. Berlin is excited to reach Paris. He imagines clean, neat rooms and beautiful buildings. He considers... (full context)
Chapter 41
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...a battle, which 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... (full context)
Chapter 42
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At an unspecified time, Berlin sits at his tower, overlooking the ocean. He thinks about the soldiers he befriended during... (full context)
Chapter 43
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...a train for Paris. The train ride is only four hours—a fact that baffles Paul Berlin, who’s been thinking back on the soldiers’ journey from Vietnam. They’ve been traveling for more... (full context)
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The train ride draws to a close, and Berlin looks through his window to see the outer city of Paris. There are farms and... (full context)
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Berlin, Sarkin, and the other soldiers leave their train and begin their stay in Paris. Berlin... (full context)
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One day, Sarkin suggests that she and Paul Berlin move into an apartment in Paris. Berlin is interested in this idea, but he insists... (full context)
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In the coming days, Berlin and Sarkin look for apartments in Paris. Some are “impossible,” while others are both charming... (full context)
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Shortly after their apartment visit, Berlin and Sarkin go to speak with Berlin’s fellow soldiers. Berlin is planning to tell them... (full context)
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Berlin goes to speak with Lieutenant Corson shortly after Eisenhower’s death. He finds the lieutenant in... (full context)
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Berlin leaves Corson, returns to Sarkin, and tells her, “it’s done.” Sarkin, pleased, takes Berlin to... (full context)
Chapter 44
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...with the soldiers and Sarkin walking through the streets of Paris, away from their hotel. Berlin asks the soldiers why they need to leave Paris. Doc explains that the hotel clerks... (full context)
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The next day, the soldiers wake up, and Berlin suggests that they “take a chance” on the apartment where he and Sarkin had been... (full context)
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...the importance of the soldiers’ mission. Oscar Johnson takes charge of the hunt for Cacciato. Berlin spends long days patrolling the streets of Paris. At night, he goes back to his... (full context)
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The narrator writes, “The next morning he found Cacciato.” Berlin is walking through Les Halles (a neighborhood of Paris) when he sees Cacciato walking through... (full context)
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The chapter cuts ahead several hours. Berlin is explaining to Doc how he found Cacciato. He shows Doc a slip of paper... (full context)
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...from a play. He urges the reader to “imagine” a debate between Sarkin and Paul Berlin. The debate takes place at the Majestic Hotel. Sarkin stands on a high stage. Speaking... (full context)
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The narrator proceeds to urge the reader to “imagine” Paul Berlin’s response. Berlin walks onto the stage and delivers an eloquent, sophisticated speech of his own.... (full context)
Chapter 45
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The time is 6 AM, and Berlin is sitting at the tower, looking out on the water. He thinks about the “facts.”... (full context)
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Berlin remembers Cacciato, who left the other soldiers, saying he would go to Paris. Berlin remembers... (full context)
Chapter 46
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The chapter opens with Doc announcing that “he” has “split.” As Berlin and Doc talk, it becomes clear that Doc is talking about Lieutenant Corson. He and... (full context)
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...for him to leave the building. The soldiers take their guns and prepare for Cacciato. Berlin leads them to the hotel where he found Cacciato. They wait for hours, until it’s... (full context)
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Oscar tells Berlin and the other soldiers to act as lookouts. He walks away. Some twenty minutes later,... (full context)
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Oscar directs his soldiers to proceed inside the hotel. Berlin leads the soldiers up the stairs to the door where he saw Cacciato. Oscar gives... (full context)
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Berlin pushes open the door (unlocked) with his new rifle. Inside, there is only darkness. Berlin... (full context)
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The narrative flashes back many months, to the night that Berlin and the other soldiers were supposed to arrest Cacciato on the hill in Vietnam. Stink... (full context)
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Later in the night, Berlin wakes up to find Lieutenant Corson sitting next to him. Corson tells Berlin, “I guess... (full context)