The Distant Stars: Youth at War

Topics: Short story, Idealism, Vietnam War Pages: 4 (1140 words) Published: October 1, 2007
Youth at War
The reader immediately recognizes the youthful idealism Dana Sachs describes in her analysis of Le Minh Khue's short story "The Distant Stars." Khue's short story is an account of three girls who reminisce about childhood joys in their beloved Hanoi as they go about the dangerous business of filling craters and detonating bombs along a trail.

The teenage girls, Nho, Thao, and the narrator Dinh, are filled with such idealistic and patriotic zeal that the constant threat of death that they face in the searing heat of broad daylight does not faze them. In her analysis Sachs notes how the "young women approach their duty with good humor and a love that is ‘selfless, passionate, and carefree, only found in the hearts of soldiers' " (Sachs 1493). This is further supported when Dinh asks, "Where else could you experience taut nerves, an erratic heartbeat and the knowledge that all around lay unexploded bombs. Maybe they'd explode now or maybe in another moment. But definitely they would explode" (Khue 1107).

It is their youthful exuberance and passionate ideology that enables the three teenagers to look death in the eye and deny that it could happen to them. Dinh narrates that "I did think of death. But it was a vague death, not a concrete one" (Khue 1113). Even after a serious injury, Dinh refuses to admit their mortality. With no concern for her own safety "Nho had just bathed in the stream and was walking back up. That section of the stream often had time-delayed bombs detonate in it" (Khue 112). As Sachs analysis states "Without any distance between the narrator and her implied audience, the story becomes imbued with the idealism of its characters" (Sachs 1493).

It is the very same youthful exuberance and ideology that allows the girls to view the revolution with the Americans as a noble struggle. This is not to say that the girls are not home sick. They miss their families and their adolescence. They miss Hanoi. "We treasured its...

Cited: Khue, Le Minh. "The Distant Stars." Trans. Bac Hoai Tran and Dana Sachs. The Art of the Short Story. Wendy Martin. Boston Mifflin Company, 2006. 1107 – 1118.
Sachs, Dana. "Small Tragedies and Distant Stars." The Art of the Short Story. Wendy Martin. Boston Mifflin Company, 2006. 1493 – 1499.
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