The Vietnam War in Short Fiction
The involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War has been the subject of an extensive and diverse body of creative works in a variety of genres, including drama, fiction, film, and poetry. Writers of short fiction inspired by the Vietnam War and its aftermath have approached the conflict from various perspectives. The earliest short stories on the subject were written by veterans and often focused on the combat experience of the American soldier in Vietnam, as well as his assimilation into American society upon returning home. These works are predominantly concerned with the search for truth and meaning amid the chaos and brutality of war. Critics assert that these stories offer insight into the evolution of American society during the 1960s and 1970s and underscore a loss of innocence during these turbulent years.
In recent decades, critics have acknowledged works by female authors for their valuable contribution to Vietnam War literature. Recurring themes in these short stories include the effect of the war on male-female relationships, the combat experience from the standpoint of female participants, the reintegration of Vietnam veterans into American society, and the impact of the war on family dynamics and successive generations. Moreover, these stories emphasize the victimization of women as a result of the war, from those who participated in combat to those whose lives were touched by its consequences.
Vietnamese authors have also utilized the Vietnam War as a literary subject. These writers have examined the severity of war and its devastating impact on individuals and families, as well as the repurcussions of the conflict on Vietnamese culture and society. Both Vietnamese and American authors have written stories concerning Vietnamese immigrants living in the United States. Chronicling the myriad of challenges confronted by these individuals, this fiction highlights the coping strategies of Vietnamese immigrants in the face of anger and discrimination, and explores their struggle to thrive in an unfamiliar and sometimes unwelcoming environment.