Rhetorical Analysis on 'Ambush' from "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien

Topics: Shame, Guilt, Thought Pages: 2 (639 words) Published: February 25, 2014


Rhetorical Analysis of "Ambush"

In "The Things They Carried," Tim O'Brien discusses his observations as a young soldier during the war with different stories from the past that have become memories. He constantly reflects back on the choices he made and questions them by making the reader do the same. Some of the text's language seems abstract because they are memories being re-told and not everything is going to said how it exactly happened. O'Brien writes this stories as a way to cope with his past after all these years. He tries to make his transition out of war seem easy, but he displays signs of post-traumatic stress, guilt, anxiety, nightmares and war related depression. The main argument in chapter thirteen, "Ambush," is exploring the guilt that goes along with being a soldier and how O'Brien confronts the memory for the first time. To also understand the manner they carried their guilt and their responsibility as soldiers. "He was a short, slender young man of about twenty. I was afraid of him-afraid of everything-and as he passed me on the trail I threw a grenade that exploded at his feet and killed him." Tim was doing the only thing that was reasonable to do at war, but in his mind he thought otherwise cause he regret it afterwards because he fees guilty for killing someone even though it was unintentional. He thought about warning the young man, but it was too late. "I was terrified. There were no thoughts about killing. The grenade was to make him go away-just evaporate-and I leaned back and felt my head go empty and then felt it fill up again." He felt ashamed for killing an innocent young man, who had a lot of goals to accomplish and pursue in his life. Every now and then this memory haunts him because he still feels guilty about it. "You keep writing theses war stories," she said, "so I guess you must've killed somebody." It was a difficult moment, but I did what seemed...
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