What to do the lyrics of Bruce Springteen's "Born in the USA" enable Sam of In Country to understand?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the inclusion of Springsteen's song helps to provide context to the novel as being on set in the mid 1980s.  At the same time, the song itself functions as a way for Sam to try to piece together what happened in Vietnam and how it impacted her father and uncle.  The struggle for identity in a post- Vietnam setting was  compounded by American malaise and disengagement after the war.  In the 1970s, public dissatisfaction with the war caused a sort of repression about the war, its implications, and what it revealed about ourselves.  The Springsteen song helps to convey the sense of loss and confusion about where to place Vietnam in the modern psyche.  The song, itself, is reflective of someone like Sam, struggling to make sense of the war and its impact on the surviving generation.  When Springsteen sings of his brother being gone, it connects to Sams' dad, also gone.  In this, Springsteen's song strives to understand that which is difficult to understand.  It is here where I think that the song has a connection to Sam, displaying that her struggle is the same as the protagonist in the song, one where there is a struggle to understand and to make sense of that which is the past.


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