Tim O’Brien in The Things They Carried short story, Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong, displays the transformation in the main character, Mary Anne Belle, during the war. He also shows how Mary’s changes have affected her boyfriend, Mark Fossie. The war at the time really affected people, especially Mary Anne. She transformed from a sweet, young girl, to a mean, and cold-hearted killer in the war. She lost herself and disconnected from the reality she used to live in. It’s almost as if Vietnam became apart of her as she affiliated herself with war through her sudden curiosity and actions. The change of Mary started when Mary’s boyfriend, Mark, snuck her into the base he was at in Vietnam during the war. In the beginning of the story, she was her true self. The girly and innocent person everyone knew Mary was. Mary was wearing “white culottes and a sexy pink sweater” (91). This presented her girly self before the transformation. Her and Mark were love-birds. For the first few weeks when Mary was there, they “stuck together like a pair of high school steadies” (95). They were such sweethearts that “…they had known for a fact that someday they would get married, live in a house near Lake Erie, and have three children” (95). Everything was the usual, then Mary Anne’s curiosity explored.Mary Anne was curious from the start of the story. She asks many questions, and shows interest in the Native culture and their customs and beliefs. As time goes on, she starts to become eager as she learns about the war. She even starts helping the medics, “even as four casualties came in she wasn’t afraid to get her hands bloody” (99). Mary even learned how to use, assemble, and clean guns and weapons. She was described on having “D-cup guts, trainer bra brains” (96). She represented eagerness while she maintained to be fearless. This represented the soldiers in the book. Mary Anne was starting to act like a soldier, especially after she joined the Green Berets for their ambushes. Her personality changed to the point where it influenced her appearance to change. She stopped wearing her day to day makeup, she stopped filing her nails as a woman should. And ” She stopped wearing jewelry, cut her hair short and wrapped it in a dark green bandana” (99) “even her once bright blue eyes had transformed into a bright glowing jungle green” (107). Her girl image was disappearing, she was becoming a soldier. Also, Mary’s life plans were altered. At first, she wanted to get married to Mark and have three children of their own. Now she only wants to live together to “test it out”, with no kids. The only thing not changed is the marriage, but she wants to wait on it instead of getting married right away. Mary Anne was changing before Mark’s eyes. Her sudden changes made Mark contemplate on sending her back home to keep her from changing the way she was. Her changes were almost similar to the young men who were sent off to war. But she was different. Her thirst for combat was flourishing before people’s eyes and she was changing even more along with it. It was almost like Vietnam and the war was becoming a part of her. Just like the soldiers, “Mary Anne had come over clean and come out dirty and then afterward, it’s never the same” (110). At one point in the story, Mary returns home after being with the Green Berets wearing a necklace laced with human tongues. Mark believes Mary Anne is in a place where she shouldn’t be. She then describes her addiction to Mark after he talks to her about being in a place she doesn’t belong. “her appetite for Vietnam, how it was inside her and how it all made her feel so alive and she knew exactly who she was there and she couldn’t find that anywhere else” (111). She confessed her thirst for combat and killing and acknowledged her changes with Mark. She loved acting as a soldier. Going on the ambushes at night, wearing camouflage, learning to use a gun. She even stopped carrying weapons because she felt she was untouchable as the soldier she thought she was. She loved the feeling it gave her. It gave her a sense of invincibility that she obviously enjoyed. Mary Anne’s transformation becomes definite here. From the sweet, and innocent woman she was, to the independent soldier like murderer. Mary’s change affected her so much that “one morning, all alone, Mary Anne walked off into the mountains and never came back” (115). She left and pursued the soldier she wanted to be.Mary had become to obsessed with the war and the constant murdering. She admired the thrill it gave her and craved it as she continued to kill and fight. She changed completely because of the war. She was highly disconnected from reality, and was living as a soldier she never was supposed to become or planned to become. The soldiers at war couldn’t handle some of the things they experienced and saw as they fought, but Mary lived off those experiences and events, causing her to become the soldier like murderer that she presented in the end.As the story comes to an end, Mary had become apart of Vietnam and the men fighting the war. After her disappearance, nobody knows whether if she’s alive or dead, but if she died, she died doing what she loved the most. People may consider she lost her sanity and self in the process of becoming a soldier, for instance, the necklace of human tongues. However, she enjoyed what she was doing. Mary Anne was fearless and felt invincible like a soldier, and that made her happy, despite how it made others feel, like Mark. The story of Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong represents how war can affect, change and transform a person. It can transform them into someone they weren’t expecting to be. And that’s the ugly truth behind the war that Tim O’Brien brings to light, especially through Mary Anne Bell in this short story.