IB Language 1A: Analysis of “The Things They Carried”
Tim O’Brien’s dismal but impressive novel “The Things They Carried,” immediately emphasizes the abrupt death of Ted Lavender. The clause continuously draws the reader to witness the tangible weight of the equipment, but the intangible weight is just as substantial. Depending on each paragraph, the structural formation differs immensely. The variation in sentence length is exceptionally versatile; it helps the reader understand the emotions involved with war, death and loss. The structure of the short crisp sentences is invigorating and helps to form the impression that war is an intense, exhausting experience. “They kicked corpses. They cut off thumbs… They told stories about Ted Lavender’s supply of tranquilizers… how incredibly tranquil he was.” Although, the list-like details seem limitless, it really shows how awful and demanding the war must have been. The passage foundations are jagged and rough, but nonetheless, the structure has been written exactly like the monstrosity of war itself. O’Brien’s use of repetition in this passage is very apparent. “They smoked the dead man’s dope… over and over… you can’t change what can’t be changed.” The regrets and guilt over the death of Ted Lavender are dead weight. O’Brien is constantly reiterating Ted’s death. This draws the reader’s attention to the horrors of war every time he mentions the misfortune. No emotions are shown, no emotions are mentioned… but repetition does tell the story. The language in the passage fluctuates, giving the writing connotation. They used firm vocabulary, to disregard their feelings within. “Men killed and died because they were embarrassed not to.” Although it seemed as though the soldiers were tough, many were just too ashamed to be seen otherwise. When the passage focuses on the tangible weight, O’ Brien writes impersonally, echoing the path of war. Although when writing about personal feeling, the alliterations used really...
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