Summaries of Major Characters
Tim O’Brien – the book’s narrator whose life resembles that of the author, artfully blurring the line between fact and fiction.
Mary Anne Bell – Mark Fossie’s fresh-faced, high school sweetheart. She comes to Vietnam to join her boyfriend, is seduced by war, and becomes obsessed with danger and bloodlust.
Norman Bowker – a Vietnam War survivor who is traumatized by his experience and has difficulty returning to normal life after the war.
Jimmy Cross – Alpha Company’s earnest but distracted leader. He is infatuated with a girl back home named Martha, but his love for her is unrequited. He is reunited with O’Brien after the war, and they reminisce about the men of Alpha Company.
Henry Dobbins – Alpha Company’s “gentle giant,” who has a strong moral center and exhibits kindness and understanding toward the other men in his company, and toward the Vietnamese.
Rat Kiley – Alpha Company’s medic and its chief storyteller, whose wild claims are often doubted by his fellow soldiers.
Kiowa – O’Brien’s friend who tries to help assuage O’Brien’s guilt when he kills a man. Kiowa carries a bible with him everywhere he goes.