In the book, a picture of a bird begins every chapter. One of the pictures shows an Arctic Tern, and this fascinates Doug because it depicts a swiftly falling bird, "heading down into the water, about to crash, his neck yanked back because he knows he's going to smack into it." Above all, Doug notices the "terrified eye" of the bird. In thinking of the eye, Doug suddenly remembers Lucas, his older brother, who is a soldier in Vietnam.
In the story, the falling Arctic tern represents Lucas, who is injured during his service in Vietnam. When he returns home, Lucas has to deal with the aftermath of war; as a wounded warrior, his injuries are both physical and mental.
Chapter Two begins with a picture of the Red-Throated Divers. In the picture, a mother bird is flanked by two junior birds, while a baby bird nestles under her wings. Neither the junior birds nor the mother bird is looking at each other; the gazes of both parties are turned in opposite directions. Meanwhile, the baby bird,...
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