E03: Critical Reading- alaska

Section 1.

Brannan Vines has never been to war. But she’s got a warrior’s skills: hyperawareness, hypervigilance, adrenaline sharp quick-scanning for danger, for triggers.

  • We can assume that Brannan doesn’t want to go to war.
  • She has a good set of skills to make her aware of her surroundings.
  • These skills can be used by athletes, fighters, etc.


Skills on the battlefield, crazy-person behavior in a drug store, where she was recently standing behind a sweet old lady counting out change when she suddenly became so furious her ears literally started ringing.

  • “Crazy-person behavior” can be assumed that her PTSD has caught up to her and is making her freak out.
  • When she is standing in line her symptoms become worse.


Being too cognizant of every sound—every coin dropping an echo—she explodes inwardly, fury flash-incinerating any normal tolerance for a fellow patron with a couple of dollars in quarters and dimes.

  • Brannan is having trouble because she is too aware of the things around her so the noises make her freak out and become more agitated.


Her nose starts running she’s so pissed, and there she is standing in a CVS, snotty and deaf with rage, like some kind of maniac, because a tiny elderly woman needs an extra minute to pay for her dish soap or whatever.

  • “Deaf with rage” can be assumed that she is so angry that she doesn’t listen to the things around her only things that irritate her.


Brannan Vines has never been to war, but her husband, Caleb, was sent to Iraq twice, where he served in the infantry as a designated marksman.

  • Brannan’s husband has been to Iraq twice. So, we assume he has PTSD.
  • Caleb was in the infantry which was combat on foot.


He’s one of 103,200, or 228,875, or 336,000 Americans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and came back with PTSD, depending on whom you ask, and one of 115,000 to 456,000 with traumatic brain injury.

  • Caleb came back with PTSD.
  • He has had a traumatic brain injury in the military.


Imagine there’s a murderer in your house. And it is dark outside, and the electricity is out. Imagine your nervous system spiking, readying you as you feel your way along the walls, the sensitivity of your hearing, the tautness in your muscles, the alertness shooting around inside your skull. And then imagine feeling like that all the time.

  • The author gives you a scene so the reader can understand what is going on.
  • We assume this is how Caleb feels with PTSD.
  • Feeling like he is closed off and is having trouble with his head.

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