Unlike Norman Bowker, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) lost all his memory from a field accident. Bourne was rescued from the sea by fisherman, and spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out who he was and why there are people trying to kill him. On the contrary, Norman tries to forget these memories, except he cannot because his memories have become part of him and haunt him; Norman most likely has PTSD because of his symptoms.
Memories affect Norman Bowker and Jason Bourne. Jason wants to remember his past; Norman, to forget his past. Norman even ends up having a pretend conversation: he talks to his dad about how he almost won the Silver Star. Bowker is upset he did not win the Silver Star, even though he did win "the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart... He would've explained to his father that none of these decorations war for uncommon valor... The routine, daily stuff--just humping [and] just enduring [the war]..." (page 135). The memory of how he almost won the Silver Star haunts Bowker so much he wants to talk to someone about it. Norman Bowker even considers talking to the town he is in, but "the town could not talk, and would not listen" (page 137). This shows how mentally unstable Norman is, he wants to talk to a town about his war experience; Norman is haunted by his past and can no longer keep all these gruesome memories to himself. He imagines telling his father his memory at the Song Tra Bong, as well as telling Sally Kramer and Max Arnold (his friend who died right before the war by drowning). Over half of the chapter is spent inside Norman's head, with him trying to tell his memories to someone. It is ironic because since we are reading he story, he is telling his memories from us, but he does not know that.
In The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne slowly remembers his past, one memory at a time. The United States government does not know that Jason is just trying to remember his past, they think he has gone inept. According to the government, the only way to solve this problem is to eliminate Jason Borne by killing him; the United States activates all their field agents in attempt to kill Jason, but this plan backfired because Jason kills them, not knowing the United States Government sent these trained agents.
Jason and Norman's memories give them a disadvantage to their lives. Jason's loss of memory is his bane because he needs his memory of his past in order to live his life; Norman Bowker's memory is also his bane because of the pain it brings him. Bowker cannot move on from his past since he is still attached to it; his memories prove that he is an unstable person who needs professional help. Norman cannot forget about his past, leading him to almost talking to an intercom at a fast-food restaurant.
Katz, Marina. "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." Web M.D. WebMD, LLC, 20 Feb. 2012. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. <http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/post-traumatic-stress-disorder>.
The Bourne Identity Trailer. Dir. Doug Liman. Screenplay by Tony Gilroy and William B. Herron. Perf. Matt Damon. Youtube. N.p., 21 Apr. 2009. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. <http://youtu.be/ZziTQTFCLqM>.