Chapters 43-44 Summary
On April first, the men and Sarkin Aung Wan board the train for Paris. It is a four-hour ride from Luxembourg, but it has been a four-month march from Vietnam. Paul Berlin wants to yell when he sees Paris in the distance. He cleans off the window, but the passing villages still shows signs of the ravages left by the Second World War.
It is raining when they arrive in Paris. They all hug each other, exhilarated that they have at last reached their goal. They stay in a hotel not far from the Italian embassy. They leisurely search for Cacciato without any seriousness. Paul realizes he is in love. Sarkin Aung Wan wants to find an apartment. Staying in a hotel makes their stay in Paris seem temporary; an apartment will give them some permanence. They look at several, finally deciding on one in disrepair but very cheap. Paul is not sure of the bells from the nearby church.
When he returns to the hotel, Paul learns that Eisenhower has died. The lieutenant is overcome with grief, so the rest of the men let him be. Paul explains to Sarkin Aung Wan that he is no one, just some hero. He goes to the lieutenant’s room to tell him he is leaving the squad to live with Sarkin Aung Wan. Expecting the lieutenant to be upset, he is surprised when Corson is agreeable.
Paul and Sarkin Aung Wan buy some things for their apartment. When they return to their hotel, Oscar tells him to pack up quickly. The good times are over, and they have to check out of the hotel as fast as possible. They go to a park nearby and camp out. Paul just wants to go home. They discuss the possibility of going to Sweden, but Oscar rules that ought. The only chance they have is to capture Cacciato and take him to the American Embassy, thus giving credibility to their assertion of going after a real deserter. They finally catch him at the market. Paul is following at a distance. He follows him to his hotel and reports the address to Doc.
Later, Sarkin Aung Wan and Paul Berlin meet in a room, sitting at a table with microphones. They give their account of their journey. The lieutenant enters, shakes hand with Paul Berlin, takes Sarkin Aung Wan by the arm and leaves. Paul leaves by a separate exit.