Required close Analytic Reading
Authors Stylistic Choices: Enhancing Analysis Using Rhetorical Grammar The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
1. What is the narrator’s tone in the opening sentence? Describe how the use of the word butterfly affects the reader’s understanding of the description that follows.
The narrator’s tone in the opening sentence is of peace and or prosperity. The narrator tricks the reader by using the noun butterfly to show beauty, calmness, and serenity even though in the following paragraph talks about the exact opposite. For example; it goes into great detail over the enemy warrior in; “The Man I killed”. Or chapter twelve for instance His face and body are elegant, almost feminine, and his face is blown apart. Tim thinks he might have been a scholar--he doesn't look cut out for war. Tim imagines the man's life story: he would never have questioned his duty to fight, but he would have been afraid, unprepared for combat. Azar tells Tim, "Oh man, you fuckin' trashed the fucker. You scrambled his sorry self, look at that, you did, you laid him out like fuckin' Shredded Wheat." Chapter 12, pg. 125 Kiowa pushes Azar away. He tries to comfort Tim, telling him he only did what he had to, and begging him to stop staring at the dead man. Tim continues to imagine what the dead man's life was like: did he get made fun of at school for being weak? He won't speak to Kiowa, who tries to help him but gets more and more disturbed and frustrated. Kiowa leaves and returns, telling Tim he's looking better, but Tim still won't speak. He just sits staring at the man he killed.
2. Notice the shift in syntax in sentence four. What is different about this verb and sentence pattern? What is the rhetorical purpose of this shift? Is there a shift in tone?
In syntax between sentences one through four are different for a reason. I notice that sentence four is speculation where the rest are facts. The differences in verbs are that in sentences one through three are in present tense. The difference in sentence patterns one through three use adjectives where sentence four uses nouns.
3. Sentence nine in the first paragraph reads “ His eyebrows were thin and arched like a women’s, and at school the boys sometimes teased him about how pretty he was, the arched eyebrows and long shapely fingers, and on the playground they mimicked a women’s walk and made fun of his smooth skin and his love for mathematics” (127). What does the sentence structure and use of figurative elements reveal about the narrator?
The narrator uses imagery to convey that this man was not fit for war alliteration was also used in those sentences. The narrator is feeling guilty because the traits the narrator bestows upon the corpse are similar to his own reasons to join and not to join the war.
4. How does O’Brien blur the lines between observation and speculation in the first paragraph? What purpose does this ambiguity serve?
O’Brien blurs the lines between observation and speculation by using past tense verbs for instance every time the verb “was” is used the word that follows is always going to be an observation verb. He also uses past tense conditional verbs such as “would not have” and the verb that follows usually is speculatory. The purpose of the ambiguity in this chapter is to make the description more believable. It needs this aspect because he as the narrator needs a reason to grieve.
5. What affect does the use of third person pronoun “he” have at the end of the first paragraph?
The affect the third person pronoun that the author made the narrator use was placed at the end of the first paragraph to blur the difference between himself and the soldier.
6. What is O’Brien’s purpose in including Kiowa’s dialogue at the end of page 127? What does it reveal?
The purpose of Kiowa’s dialogue at the end of page one hundred twenty seven was to bring the reader and...
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