“He had tricked up his own life. Only for love. Only to be loved”
In the Lake of Woods explores the experiences of a man whose need to feel loved is the central cause of his unhappiness. Discuss
Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods amalgamates fact with fiction to depict the life of John Wade, a Vietnam War veteran seeking the love and respect from those around him. John’s insatiable desire for unconditional love is the impetus for his overwhelming unhappiness; however another contributing factor is John’s traumatic experiences in Vietnam. John’s impaired and unsatisfactory relationship with his father was an incitement for his unhappiness and induced John’s use of magic and imaginings as a way of disguising his unhappiness and despair. Due to his warped perception of love, John’s love for Kathy, however true, was a source of unhappiness because of doubt and fear. Additionally, John’s experiences in Vietnam contributed significantly to his misery and discontent, and sought out the affection that is attributed with politics.
John’s defective relationship with his father caused his distorted perception of love, which provoked John to use magic and self-deception to subconsciously ameliorate his relationship with his father and conceal his unhappiness. On the surface, John’s Father was what some believed to be a “terrific man”, a desired father from John’s friends; however, John did not satisfy the strict credentials of a son that his father desired. His father would belittle his inherent qualities with slanderous comments like “jiggling John” and “blubby little pansy”. John fell into a world of unhappiness and used methods of magic and deception to create a “fantasy of utopian reality”. John used mirrors and illusion to gain “sovereignty over the world” as “in the mirror, everything was possible, even happiness”. The use of mirrors helped John to create an illusionary life, where there was “simple affection” between him and his father; “love you Cowboy, his...