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Beli Tsar

Rand and RJ parallels

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I've been thinking back on one of RJ's blogs where he discussed his service in Vietnam and how he used to be called Iceman by his squadron. He mentions (and I'm paraphrasing here) how he hated the name, and that that persona was one that had no place in civlization or a world of peace and that it was necessary for him to kill that person beyond resurrection in order for him to survive in the "peace" world.

As most people who have studied combat trauma or the pysche of soldiers in wartime know, many soldiers are forced to become someone entirely new or find within themselves an aspect of their personality that they never had any reason to imagine existed within themselves. They do this in order to survive in the hostile world of combat, and it is just as important that they leave that side of their personality behind when the war is done in order to have a successful reintegration into society, or (as any ptsd book/case will demonstrate) it will cause hell upon them and all those around them.

By the tone of RJ's words (at least the tone I read) he detested the Iceman he became in 'Nam: a man who was cool and calm in the face of death, and was emotionally detached from the horrors surrounding him. I see a direct parallel of that in Rand who was progressively (or regressively if you choose to see it that way) withdrawn from humanity, and one of the overriding themes of the series has been what real victory can the world hope for if he doesn't regain it, and what future can he possibly expect for himself if he cannot?

 

On a side note, does anyone know if RJ or anyone in his circle ever said he had his own personal experience in mind when he created this part of Rand's story? I know from what was said in the blog (actually I think it might have been Wilson who wrote that entry and not RJ, so sorry for that mistake earlier) that he was not very forthcoming with what he went through there so perhaps he never drew that comparison publicly. Also, sorry if this topic has been discussed somewhere previously.

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Well, I'm thinking RJ will have probably used it as inspiration. He's old and wise enough not to fall back into it, and to not be ashamed to recognize that part of his past.

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I have a vague memory of having read somewhere that Rands journey in TDR, especially in regards to how his personality changes here, is supposed to draw a lot from RJs Vietnam-experiences, and that is one of the reasons why we get to see so little of it, too painful for him to write about.

 

 

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Wow. And yet that is so much of story isn't it--Rand having to be something that he didn't start out being but having to become in order to succeed? Perhaps that's some of what RJ learned in his Vietnam experience--that someone in that situation can be tempted to close himself off from his feelings and yet he can't--not if he wants to be able to function later on.

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