Poverty, War, and PTSD (CHAPTER 3)

Chapter 3 is very interesting yet sad for me. The harsh and brutal reality of war is once again, something I can only imagine. In the beginning of the chapter, he’s speaking about his time as a prisoner of war for the Germans. He meets this deranged, hostile person named Roland Weary. Roland Weary is an interesting character to read about. With his expansive deadly weapon collection and his aggressive behavior, you’d honestly be surprised that he has not turned out to be a raging serial killer. As stated in the last chapter, he does have a history of being abandoned. Maybe he uses his aggressive behavior as coping mechanism from his abandonment issues. Who knows? Billy Pilgrim is a character that saddens me. His inability to get unstuck out of time and his triggering PTSD all seem to treat him like a personal punching bag. The fact that he cries instead of sleep and uses a vibrator in order to sleep is chilling. “A siren went off, scared the hell out of him. He was expecting World War Three any time” (page 73). This quote saddens me to the core. It reminds of a post I had seen on Twitter a couple years ago about fireworks and veterans. The post wanted people to be courteous of veterans in their neighborhoods because the fireworks are triggering to them. That post made me get into a depressive mood. It made me realize how privileged I was to never have to crouch in fear of fireworks because it reminded of war. It also angered me because I have read articles about veterans not receiving proper care for their mental health issues by mental health facilities. How dare America send them off to a brewed hell-hole for personal gain just for them to not be able to get help. What kind of country are we? Another thing that saddened me about this chapter was the hobo. The way he spoke about the prisoner situation bothered yet, once again, saddened me. ” I been hungrier than this. I been in worse place than this. This ain’t bad,” he said (page 87). The quote reminds of how hellish poverty is. The man is in a crazy situation as it is, but he looks at this is being better than living on the street. It reminds of how thousands of people join the military to escape the crippling reality of poverty. You don’t join the military, you suffer and die from poverty. You do join the military, and you still might die, but at least you don’t have to worry about your financial issues for now. Your financial burden may be gone, but your mental burden is like the aftermath of a hurricane. You may or may not survive that hurricane but if you do, it will be one hell of a ride. At the beginning of the chapter, Billy went into the “bad” part of Ilium, Illinois or as the book called it, the black ghetto. “The neighborhood reminded Billy of some of the towns he had seen in the war. The curbs and sidewalks were crushed in many places, showing where the National Guard tanks and half-tracks had been”(page 75). It reminded of when I read the last chapter of A Prayer For Owen. It talked about how Owen and John got stationed in Arizona. It talked about how bad that town was and how poor it looked. The people were in bad conditions, crime was rampant, and the environment in that area was terrible. It made think about this : What war are we really fighting? We try to play the hero roles in other wars, but what happens when we are the villain in our own war? Why are we pretending this war doesn’t exist? We condemn foreign countries for their treatment of their own but are we really any different? Even in today’s time, we still question what war are we really battling. How is winning a war overseas sparking happiness when we still have yet to win this war with poverty?

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