Posted by: beansai | February 23, 2008

Journal Entry #7: Goat

    I found it interesting that people made comparisons between Swofford’s Jarhead and Land’s Goat, because I also saw parallels between the two memoirs as I was reading Goat. Is it odd that the two memoirs by men that we have read, have had similar styles with short and choppy phrases, with a very disconnected narrative? The reader is allowed to be there in that moment, but somehow the author, the main character, does not seem entirely there. Perhaps these similarities lie more in the fact that both these texts deal with excessive trauma, rather than the fact that they are written by men. There is also the parallel of dealing with the issues of what masculinity is and what it means to be a man. I also saw similarities between the military’s re-programming tactics and those of the fraternity as well.

    I found Goat to be a very sad read like many other people in my class did. I didn’t find myself to be depressed over it or anything, but it definitely left a heaviness. I think, for myself, the heaviness was more from an empathy with his struggles to overcome these emotional traumas he has endured rather than because the story was simply sad. I thought it had a bittersweet ending to it. It may not have been ideal, he may not have had this epiphany of a moment where he is suddenly all better, but that is the nature of trauma, it doesn’t just up and leave one day. You have to work through it. And I definitely viewed the close of the memoir as the beginning of him really starting to work through the trauma rather than around it.

    I liked Will and was completely shocked when he died. I honestly kept expecting Brett, Land’s brother, to commit suicide or to get in a car crash. I expected someone to get in a car crash with all the drunk driving that they did. That made me cringe every time they got into the car drunk. I can’t believe that Will was voted out of the fraternity at the end of the pledge season. Especially after the horrendous things they made him do. I thought that was just cruel. Do they really not give any allowance for differences in personality? I mean, they honestly can’t expect every member to be as loud, obnoxious, and cruel as the rest of them, can they? I know, that’s a huge generalization. I felt for Will though. I’ve never even dared to try for a sorority. I’m not nearly social enough. Luckily for me, I don’t give a shit how popular I am or how much of an impression I make on the university I attend. I’ll stay in my apartment, living alone, enjoying my small movie collection and a soda. I’ll pass on the group humiliation, thanks.

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