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One of the major themes in the novel is the idea of love and relationship. The main couple and in fact the only couple presented in the novel is Kathy and John. They felt in love when they were in collage but their relationship was not a smooth one. John was always suspicious of Kathy and her sincerity so he began to spy on her even before they were officially in a relationship. After that, through manipulation, John controlled almost every aspect of Kathy’s life and he did everything he could to keep her beside him. This type of relationship took its toll on Kathy who couldn’t take it anymore and ended up disappearing. It is implied that she either ran away alone or that she had a secret lover who helped her to disappear. Either way, it is clear that while John loved Kathy, Kathy may have never felt the same way about John.
The main character in the novel, John is extremely interested in politics. His desire to enter politics is a result of his childhood interest in magic and illusions. John compares time and time again magic with politics and highlights the idea that both are quite similar because they both involve manipulation and illusions. Also, the people who are fooled in both cases want to be lied to. The audience at a magic show doesn’t want to know the trick behind the magic just as those who vote for one person or another don’t want to know about what their candidate did before becoming a politician. What the public wants to see is the final result, the end of the magic show.
Many refused to believe that the Americans were able of war crimes during the wars they participated in various wars but the Vietnam War proves that mankind is capable of doing all kinds of horrors when one nation fights against another one. The Americans were traumatized when they saw their peers being killed in battle so they considered it justice to do the same to the Vietnamese, be it soldiers or civilians. The massacre at My Lai proves just how far some are willing to go to prove that they are right and the things they are capable of doing when they think that no one is watching them or no one will find out. While some soldiers enjoyed killing innocent people, other soldiers decided to keep themselves separated and to not participate in the massacre. As the reader was able to see in John’s case, he was haunted by the deeds he had done and he even considered telling his superiors about what happened. He however chose not to do it and when the truth came to light his reputation was destroyed.
Shayna Pascoe Professor Doane English 6 May 6, 2011 Crazy Murderer In the Lake of the Woods describes the story of John Wade and his wife Kathy. John Wade had lost a campaign for the United State Senate, fought in war, and had a rough childhood growing up. After the campaign, the two moved to woods in Minnesota, in solitude. One morning, Kathy and their boat had gone missing; they vanished into thin air. Through the use of flashbacks of John’s life, as well as testimony and evidence from affected characters, Tim O’Brien creates several hypotheses for the disappearance of Kathy, and the decision is left up to the reader. Maybe Kathy had sped over the lake too quickly, hit a rough patch of water, and had been brutally thrown into the lake, where she drowned. Perhaps she had navigated the boat poorly and had become lost in the wilderness, only to run out of supplies. Maybe the two planned the whole thing and ran away together. The most plausible explanation of Kathy’s disappearance though is that John was the murderer of Kathy due of his mental state, his need for control, and his paranoia and obsession with secrets. John’s relationships with people have always been strange for they are filled with secrecy and paranoia. As a child, John was never close to his father. His father was an alcoholic and abused him and his mother. He saw this side to his dad, but no one else did, everyone else thought so highly of him. The abuse and other things were kept secret from the rest of the world. There were so many secrets that were held from John from his father. “Everybody had secrets, obviously, including his father, and for John Wade the spying was like an elaborate detective