English 11 Period 2
May 29, 2014
The Things They Carried
“War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead.” O’Brien would say the Vietnam War was a negative experience for those involved because soldiers struggled with the loss of others, coping with those losses and witnessed graphic death scenes at the ages of 18-23. The Things They Carried is a book written by Tim O’Brien that contains semi-autobiographical stories about the men that served in the Vietnam War and O’Brien’s experiences during that time. The Vietnam War was a time where many lives were lost and many people struggled with copping with their losses. Many soldiers would remember the good times they had together in order to feel better. “If at the end of the war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie,” (P. 68-69). In the section How to tell a True War Story, Rat Kiley wrote a heartfelt letter about his best friend Lemon’s sister. Writing this letter about his best friend was his way of coping with his loss. Rat wanted to convey the truth to his sister but she fails to respond back. Lemons sister does not respond but her response is the act of not responding. This makes the reader sympathize with Rat and gives them a look of how he felt. If you are a soldier in Vietnam, killing someone for the first time could come as a huge life changing experience. “His jaw was in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, his one eye was shut, his other eye was a star-shaped hole, his eyebrows were thin and arched like a woman’s,” (P. 124). This description is of the first person O’Brien killed during the war. O’Brien uses one emotion to describe this feeling and it is shock. He gives this man a backstory to make the soldier seem more realistic. Giving personal stories to the man that he killed...
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