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How Does Mark ’find His Own Way Back to God?’

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How Does Mark ’find His Own Way Back to God?’

Everyone must find their own way back to god - Morales believes that this is the quest of each individual; how does Mark accomplish this?

Scott Anderson’s novel Triage depicts the journey of a war photographer back from the insanities of post traumatic stress. The story revolves around Mark Walsh, who after returning from Kurdistan, spirals into a severe case of survivor guilt and post traumatic stress. Elena’s grandfather, Joaquin Morales, guides Mark back to recovery with a string of bizarre techniques. Joaquin initially allows Mark to confront his memories by asking him to retell his war stories. Joaquin then utilizes the land and addresses Mark’s spatial awareness in order for Mark to visualize the event at Kurdistan. Finally, Joaquin reveals the secrets of Carlos Perez to finally allow Mark to accept reality. It is through these techniques that Mark is able to “find his own way back to god”.

Joaquin assisted Mark to unblock his memories by asking him to recount a series of war stories from his personal experiences as a war photographer. Mark retells the event of encountering an innocent Lebanese boy in Beirut, who “sighed” and ultimately was shot dead. Joaquin stated “You are looking for others for forgiveness, but that is something no person can give you”. Joaquin implied that Mark’s attitude towards forgiveness was inappropriate, and that he needed to focus on absolving the guilt of causing the deaths of his best friends. Mark’s final war story of the cadets in Sri Lanka enforced Joaquin’s belief of Mark carrying “the guilt of not having done enough to help or save others”. Joaquin thus reiterates the fact that Mark has to learn that there is “no one to share the burden”. Furthermore, Joaquin compelled Mark to confront his memories to believe that he would not have saved Colin; that his death was inevitable. Essentially, Mark’s treatment can be symbolized through the games of chess; Joaquin adapts to the experiences and circumstances of Mark, and accordingly provides him with solutions to overcome his personal fears.

Joaquin’s expert use of the land and Mark’s spatial awareness encourages the latter to accept reality. Realizing that Mark was making no progress towards recovery, Joaquin decided to undertake a different tactic; he insisted Mark to visualize the event in Kurdistan and to recall the moment when Colin had gone missing by drawing a map on the wall. Joaquin asks Mark “and where was Colin?”, as through this question, Mark was forced to consider the events which led to his separation from Colin, which subsequently may have allowed Mark to come to terms with his friend’s death. Whilst in Spain, Joaquin introduced a peaceful and private place for Mark where he could go and slowly reduce his pain; “Each day, he stopped the car in a different corner of Alpujarra” and “there he would feel happy as he talked to Colin”. Through this, Mark created a fantasy world where Colin was still alive; a world where he could still share his precious memories with his best friend. This event allows Mark to become more optimistic and carry on in life with strength, and also stirred excitement and intrigue as he had something to

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