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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 144

Novel Without a Name tells the Vietnam war story from a Vietnamese point of view. In fact, it goes even deeper and reveals the experience form a soldier's perspective. Quan, the main character, joins the Vietnamese army together with his two childhood friends, Bien and Luong, hoping to make a difference in his home country. However, the war with the Americans takes a toll on him, and he loses all sense of belonging or hope. Quan witnesses the death of many of his colleagues and innocent civilians. In the end, he comes to the conclusion that the war was only meant to benefit those in power. As he stares at an American soldier captured by his comrades, he realizes that even this soldier is a victim of a war with no meaning. The novel leaves the reader thinking and questioning the logic behind war.

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Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 407

Novel Without a Name is the story of a young platoon commander, Quan, who struggles to find his identity in the confusion of the last days of the Vietnam War. Ten years before the novel opens, Quan joins the army with his boyhood friends, Bien and Luong. Each represents a different response to the search for identity in the chaos of war. By the time of the novel’s opening, Luong has risen in the ranks of the army; he is an officer at division headquarters and deputy to the commander. He accepts and disseminates Party ideology, finding a space for himself in the bureaucracy of war. Bien, on the other hand, never rises above sergeant. The deprivations of the war lead him to mental illness, and he is imprisoned as a lunatic. Quan’s struggle for identity is the most complicated.

At the heart of the book is Quan’s journey, taken under Luong’s orders, into the interior of Vietnam to free Bien from his imprisonment. As Quan travels, he reflects, dreams, and hallucinates about the horrors of the war. Quan recalls the glory showered on the three friends when they joined the army, contrasting it to the death and destruction around...

(The entire section contains 551 words.)

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