The Things They Carried. Page 174-175, Written Commentary
Many people ask themselves who is to blame for deaths in war, and if it is subjective to a person, or if it is contextual. In the following extract from Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”, it is impossible to think just about the Vietnam War as situational cause of the death of so many, the reader has to view the war person by person, each person or situation differing from each other. Right after the death of Kiowa, the men go searching for his body, as a sign of respect, throughout their search many ponder with painful thoughts. O’Brien demonstrates in this extract the way that diction and context can depict hope, isolation, and blame. “[…] how for a second the flashlight had made Billie’s face sparkle” (Line 9) In the second paragraph of the extract, the specific word “sparkle” is a particular word because it is not something that brings to mind any describing words of the situations during war, or for the people who are participating in it. In many senses it brings a feeling of innocence, joy, and hope. Hope, joy, and innocence would not normally be perceived as something that a person who is in the war is made up of, considering the circumstances, it would be expected that the diction would be one to describe a strong, tough man. The idea of hope being brought up is also very quickly taken away, in many ways symbolizing how war works. How things can change in an instant, without warning or without a chance. Soldiers have momentary hope, and in seconds it can be turned into fear, death or murder. In this extract both hope and innocence are brought up subtly by the use of diction, it is shown again with the connotation of the word “boy” which is the way that the particular soldier is described. “Boy” as a describing word of a soldier demonstrates the purity and the humanity of him, while also insinuating weakness. The lack of diction is also to be noted because this particular character stays...
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