Most of us have already had some kind of experience with violent situations or crimes in some relation. In some cases, this violence is so extreme that it can lead to a development of mental illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a disorder often found in soldiers returning from war.
In the story “Wood Grouse on a High Promontory Overlooking Canada”, written by David Guterson in 1996, one of the main characters, Gary, is suffering from the consequences of his time serving in the Vietnam war.
He has been marked by a violent and traumatic experience that will be a part of him for the rest of his life.
The story takes place in an idyllic wilderness close to the border between America and Canada. The setting seems to be a very beautiful, calm and quiet surrounding. Gary of course likes the setting a lot, since it contrasts a lot from the harsh fields of war, he just recently returned from.
What helps create the peaceful setting in the beginning of the text is the description of weather. It is a warm summer day and the sun is out . The only thing making us questions how perfect everything is, is the use of the of the word “sultry” , since it rarely is used in a pleasant context. Shortly after the brothers cross the border to Canada, Gary calls it a “draft-dodger heaven” .
When the Vietnam war was at its peak, every teenager turning 18 were drafted to fight in the war and serve their country.
Gary went through this process and went to Vietnam and is suffering from his experiences in the war and Gary doesn’t ever want his little brother to experience anything like he did, and he knows that the best place to avoid war, is in Canada. That is why he calls it a “draft-dodger heaven”. It is heaven for everybody dodging be drafted to war
The protagonist of the short story is called Bud. He is a 15 year old boy who is hiking with his brother. There is really no explanation to why the brother are hiking together; it just seems like a natural thing for them to do. Bud is really curious and interested in the war.
Bud is still young and naive, and he has no idea what Gary has gone through. Buds view on the war is very childish and he thinks that it is all just cool and fun, as it is in his imagination. When Bud is about to throw a stone at the covey of wood grouse, he imagines himself as a hunter of wild animals , as he is still fascinated by the idea of killing.
He wants to be a grown man and go to war just like his brother did. When Bud throws the stone and actually hits a wood grouse, Gary is shocked and rather irritated at his brother . Bud does not understand what he did wrong and shows no emotion at all towards his actions .