for "In the Field"
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The titles of both “Field Trip” and “In the Field” play with the word “field.” Indeed, the shit field becomes totemic in these stories, but it is much less innocuous than the light titles would suggest. The shit field is the site of a death. Kiowa is the second casualty for the Alpha Company attributable purely to distraction. THe theme of responsibility and death is strong. Composing variations on a possible letter to Kiowa’s father is a metaphor for Cross’ indecision about whether he wants to take responsibility or not for the death. The story ends on the dour note of Cross’ decision not to take responsibility after all. The narrator suggests that it is this denial of responsibility that is one of the cultural problems created by the very war.