The Imagery of War and Its Effect on People Described in Literature
Literature plays a big role in describing a warfare and its consequences. Many literary works of writers and poets describe how horrifying the war can be and how it effects and changes human behavior. They create universal images of war and send powerful messages about how it builds new characters in soldiers and how that changes their lives for a lifetime. Stories and poems describe terrifying scenes of war, how the soldiers shoot and get shot at, how they must kill and get killed. They get injured, see their friends and others die, and even get emotionally wounded and injured when their girlfriends or wives leave them. In the story “The Things They Carried”, by Tim O’Brien, the author described the Vietnam war, and the daily routine of U.S. troops. He thoroughly characterized every soldier; what they went through on daily basis and painted terrible images of war. Through the characters like Lieutenant Jimmy Cross and his soldiers, the author exposed the reader how the war has changed their behavior by making them tougher and colder. Another good example of a battlefield trauma is given in Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Man He Killed”. This poem was written in 1902, eighty four years earlier than “The Things They Carried”, and speaks of much earlier war. However, both stories describe the war similarly and express the same message. They tell how it effects the soldiers. Moreover, if we look into some examples of our modern day wars, it becomes obvious that they are as useless and horrible as they have always been. The film of Oren Moverman The Messenger (2009) is another good example which shows horrible consequences of Iraq war. It pictures soldiers and their families suffering from it at our present days. Given examples of war-stories from three different generations describe the pain and horror of a war and how soldiers return home injured physically and mentally, and continue suffering from their trauma.
Writers and poets deliver their message in their works by creating the imagery of situations and consequences of a war. For example, in the story “The Things they Carried”, written in 1986, Tim O’Brien exposed the images of Vietnam war. His main character Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carries pictures of his girlfriend named Martha, whom he loves, along with their shared memories from back home. The author wrote, “He would sometimes taste the envelope flaps, knowing her tongue was there” (375). The example of Lieutenant Cross’s behavior in the story tells the reader that his love and memories helped him to cope through his days. Using those peaceful memories of his loved one and home, he manages to isolate himself from the horror of the war. The author also described in details how the soldiers’ days went during the Vietnam war. He shows how they carry weights on their backs, along with their memories and lucky charms. They are to carry only necessary items, but they also carry diaries, comic books and even a New Testament. The writer explained how superstition the war made them. He says, “Lieutenant Cross carried his good luck pebble. Dave Jensen carried a rabbit’s foot. Norman Bowker... carried a thumb that had been presented to him as a gift by Mitchell Sanders” (382). In this part of the story, the author created sad images of war. First, he exposed the level of soldiers faith in something they believed would bring them good luck and keep their lives safe. But also, he has sent another emotional message. The thumb that Norman Bowker carries was cut from a burned body of a very young boy, that the soldiers find in a ditch. He was only fifteen or sixteen years old. This is a powerful example of how young kids like that boy is forced into the war. The author reveals the reactions of the soldiers when they find the body. They are cold-heartedly joking around, kicking the corpse and cutting his thumb. The significance of the message is how mentally injured the...
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