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"Soldiers are dreamers."
Going After Cacciato is a novel written by Tim O'Brien set in the Vietnam War. The premise of the story, according to O'Brien, is that being a soldier in Vietnam involves constant walking; if one did all that walking in a straight line, one could end up in Paris.
The book is written in Anachronic Order, with the basic plot line being Paul Berlin's chase after Cacciato goes AWOL. The entire chase to Paris, which involves Laos, Mandalay, Delhi, Tehran, Athens, as well as Paris, all happens in Paul Berlin's head while on guard duty. Inserted between the main plot are assorted war stories and descriptions of the characters.
This book lends itself to interpretation because Cacciato is always shown as being happy and content, and the squad chases after them. Also, there are seven war stories of character's deaths, which is a perfectly symbolic number.
The following tropes have been found in this work:
- All Just a Dream: The idea behind the whole book
- The Chick: Sarkin Aung Wan
- Cloudcuckoolander: Cacciato
- Dangerous Deserter: Averted by Cacciato. He's pretty much harmless and even helps Paul Berlin and the others escape from jail at one point.