There are many ways to supplement a story in order to add lucidity. It is done through literary devices and Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" is no different. "The Things They Carried" is a narrative about a soldier at war in Vietnam. However, this story provides multiple layers of meaning through O'Brien's tone and style that help the reader further understand it. Both of these literary devices are embedded in the story and gradually help define it.
To begin with, O'Brien writes this short story in a very serious tone. There is no joking with him, unless in dialogue. For instance, O'Brien demonstrates this serious tone when he writes "After the chopper took... They burned everything" (440). This tone then helps to add to the reader's understanding. By the tone of the story, one can infer the seriousness of the topic. O'Brien himself served in the Vietnam War after being drafted. He witnessed the horrors of war first hand as an infantryman, and therefore would not take this topic lightly. O'Brien also conveys a very futile tone in certain areas of the story. One part in particular is Lieutenant Cross's actions the morning after Ted Lavender dies. O'Brien creates a humiliating environment as he writes "You couldn't burn the blame" and how Lt. Cross's actions were "...mostly just stupid" (444). This aura of futility that floats among the text speaks volumes to the reader and in particularly, expresses the faith of the men. Many were draftees, and therefore had no choice but to fight. They saw their friends die and didn't want to fight. Much of their morale was broken and O'Brien shows this through character actions and tone.
Adding to the layers of this story is O'Brien's style of writing. His unique way with words gives the reader a new experience from a story. At the start of the "The Things They Carried," O'Brien does a very good job at enveloping the reader with a sense of weight. He describes the items each soldier carries and the...
Cited: O 'Brien, Tim. "The Things They Carried." Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. New York: McGraw, 2008, 433-445
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