The work is simultaneously a war autobiography, writer's memoir, and group of fictional short stories. Subtitled "A Work of Fiction," O'Brien immediately and deliberately blurs the line between fact and fiction by dedicating the novel to individuals that the reader soon discovers are the novel's fictional characters. To further complicate the genre blending and blurring between fiction and reality, O'Brien creates a protagonist, a Vietnam veteran, named "Tim O'Brien. The originality and innovation of O'Brien's invented form are what make the novel particularly compelling because its main theme — more so than even the Vietnam War — is the act of storytelling.
In this disturbing story, based on the actions of serial killer Charles "Smitty" Schmid, the author focuses first on Connie, a fifteen-year old girl who struggles because she is a kid who wants to be an adult. Connie is described as an adolescent girl who She is constantly in search of who she is.
We can understand Connie's confusion over whether she is acceptable in observing her mother's response to Connie's behavior: Stop gawking at yourself, who are you? You think you're so pretty?
However, in this case Connie does not worry so much about what her mother says about her looks because The reader realizes that her mother is not supportive or perhaps is not even aware of Connie's search for self-awareness.
Her mother is also critical that Connie is not more like her sister, constantly comparing the two. Connie's concern with her appearance is not the only thing we learn about the youngster.
Using indirect characterization, the reader is able to gain insight into the kinds of things Connie does and what she thinks.
While her sister June is praised for all the things she does, "Connie couldn't do a thing. In this we can infer that she is not always sincere in what she says.
She likes to hang out with her friends at the mall, where they "lean together to whisper and laugh secretly if someone passed by who amused or interested them. She also has a way of acting when she is out that is nothing like the person she is when she is at home.
She had a pullover jersey blouse that looked one way when she was at home and another way when she was away from home. Everything about her had two sides to it The narrator represents Connie a young woman with chameleon-like capabilities. At home she dresses and speaks differently than when she is out.
She is smirky and cynical at home. When she is out, she is a different person. While all of this may not be unusual, it is sneaky. When Connie and her friend run across the highway to the hamburger place, they are described as "breathless with daring," which indicates that they should not be there.
It is where the older boys hang out. Connie and her friend are not simply interested in boys.
They are looking for the right kind of boys. On this particular night they are called over to a car by a boy at school that they don't like, so they simply ignore him and this makes them feel good.
Obviously this experience fills them with a sense of being wanted and having the power to refuse the attention. Connie hangs out with a guy named Eddie for a couple of hours, meeting her girlfriend back at the mall just in time to get a ride home from her friend's father.
When she gets home and is asked about the movie she was supposed to see, she lies as if she had been there.These two sides cannot remain separate from each other at all times and collide with each other, which this short story depicts.
The main idea in this short story is the sexuality of Connie and her struggle to keep her sexual and non-sexual side separate. At home, Connie appears childish, but away from home, she strives to appear sexy, mature, and seductive.
For the most part, her two sides seem to exist in harmony. She argues with her mother and sister at home, but otherwise her transition from child to woman and back again seems to happen effortlessly.
Connie’s mother envies Connie’s youth and beauty, which she herself has lost. At the end of the story, Connie’s mother is whom Connie cries out for when she is presumably attacked by Arnold. June - Connie’s older sister. Connie is preoccupied with her looks, music, and boys.
She takes on numerous roles and is uncertain as to which is the real her, “Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home” (). She has an unstable relationship with her family, which is the main cause for her identity conflict.
In fact, Connie's world is constructed in such a "two sided" manner that it is almost dizzying to see her in action. She asserts individuality, but does so with a "nervous" tinge to it. These two sides cannot remain separate from each other at all times and collide with each other, which this short story depicts.
The main idea in this short story is the sexuality of Connie and her struggle to keep her sexual and non-sexual side separate.