for the chapter "Style"
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I think that O'Brien uses metaphor in this section. The girl is a stand-in for the rest of Vietnamese society, filtered in turn through O’Brien’s sympathetic perspective. She is attractive, mysterious, and innocent. The troops’ reaction exemplifies the wider American mis- or nonunderstanding of Vietnamese culture that infuriates O’Brien in “On a Rainy River.” Dobbins understands the girl no better than Azar does. But he at least shows himself to be an honorable man by trying to stop Azar from misrepresenting or humiliating the girl.
The young Vietnamese girl also doubles another young girl, Kathleen. By putting the stories next to one another in the book, O’Brien implies a sense of guilt about the Vietnamese village.