Hocus Pocus

Submitted By thatoneguy15
Words: 1874
Pages: 8

Jeff Landay
English 302, Professor Danner
Essay 6
What is it About? Reading any novel has some sort of hidden theme, and as a great reader it is your job to figure out what this theme may be about. A large discussion about Kurt Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus on what its theme actually is. There are different ideas of what it may be out because of the way it was written. Eugene Debs Hartke, the narrator of the novel, goes through his story and shows many different problems he may have because of his history. He shows that he has a very narcissistic personality, making sure he looks great to those who know him, a sort of separation from himself and others, the lack of a "filter", by meaning this it being his hesitation of thinking before speaking his mind, or even have the desire to be in some sort of structured life, in this his desire of being punished by the things he has done and needs to be sent to jail. This is just the tip of the issues he has, and although they do not seem to have anything in common, but this is only to those who do not know the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that followed him back to the states from the Vietnam war. The problems that Eugene shows throughout the story helps define what the theme of the book is, it, which it seems to this reader, is the struggles after the war and the mental problems with PTSD. The war itself has been brought many times without the novel. Through it something as simple as conversation, memories, or being proud of himself with what has done over seas during the war. But he does ask another vet one simple question, "'What is was like to come home from the Vietnam War?'" (166), of course a question does seem to be an easy question to answer, but more difficult to answer in a positive way. Coming back from the Vietnam War not all soldiers were not looked upon by society greatly. Screams, and nicknames they got when they got back from the war from others which weren't the greatest of names to get called. Also not all from Vietnam. When some of the vets came back, all though they may have been back to America physically, mentally they were not necessarily with the rest of them. After witnessing, or killing others did more damage than ever bullet could ever. The mental twist of a soldiers mind was often too much to handle and would normally look for some sort of vice to escape from the nightmares the may wake up from in the middle of the night. Many could find the answers of their sorrows in the bottom of a bottle, some looked to try to forget what they have done by finding drugs to have a separation, even if it a short one. Another avenue for escape was the mental problems was through having sex with many different partners, which was Eugene's vacation from the thoughts that may be taunting him. But the sex he was having, didn't show any sort of connection other than him being proud of himself because of the amount of different partners throughout his life. One of the more obvious personality problems, if is thought to be that way, is Eugene's narcissism. Although it isn't flashed before one's eyes, but there are many small clues as to his true feelings about himself. Although he never once goes on a chant on how amazing he is, his actions and conversations with others gave more clues to this idea. His opinion of women is not always the greatest, but believes that he can sleep with any woman he decides to sleep with. Even though he is married, which he believes for marriage but has not connection with his wife, he instead sleeps with other women who themselves are also married. Each time he does create a new relationship with a new woman, he seems happy and proud of himself for having sex with the woman he wanted to at the moment. He wants to have the number of woman he slept with, and the amounts of kills he got in Vietnam which is a clue to showing off what he has done with his life. But it isn't just the women, he also wanted to prove that he was a