A young soldier who serves alongside John in Charlie Company, and witnesses enormous brutality at Thuan Yen, though he claims to be innocent of any wrongdoing. Richard Thinbill is ultimately responsible for bringing John’s presence at the massacres to the public eye. Richard shows signs of PTSD, and often comments on the flies surrounding the dead bodies at My Lai and Thuan Yen.
Richard Thinbill Quotes in In the Lake of the Woods
The In the Lake of the Woods quotes below are all either spoken by Richard Thinbill or refer to Richard Thinbill. 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:
Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of In the Lake of the Woods published in 1995.
All I remember now is the flies.
Related Characters:Richard Thinbill (speaker)
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Richard Thinbill Character Timeline in In the Lake of the Woods
The timeline below shows where the character Richard Thinbill appears in In the Lake of the Woods. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Evidence
...that John killed Kathy, an idea that Eleanor rejects as ridiculous. A man named Richard Thinbill complains about “flies,” though he doesn’t specify where he saw them.
Chapter 6: Evidence
...is structured as a collection of “evidence.” The first piece of evidence comes from Richard Thinbill, who says, “We called him Sorcerer.” The next pieces of evidence are related to John’s...
Chapter 12: Evidence
Richard Thinbill again mentions the huge number of flies, but doesn’t say where he saw them. A...
Chapter 16: Evidence
...soldier is often given orders that clash with his definition of right and wrong. Richard Thinbill complains once again about flies. A soldier named Salvatore LaMartina claims that everyone at My...
Chapter 20: Evidence
...court-martial, Paul Meadlo discusses rounding up Vietnamese villagers and claims that they were Vietcong. Richard Thinbill claims that he shot no people in Vietnam, only cows. Eleanor says that she “found”...
Richard Thinbill, at a court-martial, explains that a soldier nicknamed Sorcerer shot an old man “by accident.”...
...“the dentist.” The narrator, speaking in the first person for the first time, agrees with Thinbill that Vietnam was the spirit world: there were ghosts and graveyards everywhere. The narrator claims...
Chapter 21: The Nature of the Spirit
...and thorough. In the sunlight, soldiers shoot, rape, sodomize, and stab Vietnamese villagers. PFC Richard Thinbill, a young, good-looking man, asks Sorcerer if he can hear “the sound.” Sorcerer nods that...
The narrative returns to Vietnam. Charlie Company moves toward the sea in the east. Thinbill mentions the spirit world to Sorcerer, and observes, “Fuckers just don’t die.” The soldiers are...
Thinbill says, half to the other soldiers and half to himself, that they must have killed...
...if they’ve heard any rumors that what happened in the village was criminal or murderous. Thinbill, intimidated, says that he hasn’t heard any rumors of this. When Calley asks Sorcerer if...
Later in the night, Thinbill approaches Sorcerer and asks him if he thinks the two of them should say something...
...urinate, and resume firing on their victims. As he laughs, John rolls into the mud. Thinbill tells him to take it easy. John begins to calm down, but as he calms...
...hears other sounds in the area—some people are crying, and there are echoes of gunshots. Thinbill tells John he has the right attitude—“fuck the spirit world.”
Chapter 25: Evidence
Richard Thinbill is quoted talking about the flies. In another piece of evidence, from a court-martial, he...
Chapter 26: The Nature of the Dark
All the soldiers who fought in Vietnam were young: Calley was 24, T’Souza was 19, Thinbill was 18, Sorcerer was 23, etc. After the massacre at Thuan Yen, they spent months...
Chapter 30: Evidence
...Peers Commission, who was looking for dirt on John. In a letter to John, Richard Thinbill apologizes for giving testimony that was used to implicate John in the Thuan Yen massacres....
...have to be hopeful, and thus hopes that John and Kathy are happy together somewhere. Thinbill acknowledges that John pulled off one final magic trick by disappearing. Still, Thinbill says, John...
In a footnote to Thinbill’s final comment, the narrator discusses the peculiarities of memory. Like John, the narrator has his...
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Arn, Jackson. "In the Lake of the Woods Characters: Richard Thinbill." LitCharts. LitCharts LLC, 4 Oct 2015. Web. 17 Mar 2018.
Arn, Jackson. "In the Lake of the Woods Characters: Richard Thinbill." LitCharts LLC, October 4, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2018. http://www.litcharts.com/lit/in-the-lake-of-the-woods/characters/richard-thinbill.