Literary Techniques in “The Things They Carried” Essay

October 5, 2017 Medical

A literary technique is a device employed in literature to add deepness to a writer’s work. These techniques can be obvious. such as the technique of rime in a verse form. or elusive. such as apposition. which can travel unnoticed by the reader. In The Things They Carried. Tim O’Brien uses many such techniques to supply more deepness to his book. Four literary techniques used by Tim O’Brien are symbolism. hapless false belief. sarcasm. and apposition. One literary technique prominent in The Things They Carried. peculiarly in the narrative by the same name. is symbolism.

Throughout this narrative. O’Brien references all the things that the soldiers carry with them. both physical and emotional. However. the physical points that the work forces carried is more than merely equipment- they are symbols that represent assorted aspects of each soldier’s personality. For illustration. “Rat Kiley carried… morphia and plasma and malaria tablets and surgical tape… and all the things a medic must transport. including M & A ; M’s for particularly bad wounds” ( O’Brien 5 ) .

The fact that Kiley carried medical necessities shows that he is a good paramedic devoted to making his occupation good. but the M & A ; M’s represent something different- Kiley’s optimistic and sort mentality on the war and life in general. Conversely. the tranquillizers carried by Ted Lavender stand for his panic of the combat in the war and his inability to face world. instead taking to get away from it by taking drugs. This is an effectual technique because. by utilizing these symbols. O’Brien can allow the reader figure out for him/herself deeper facets of certain characters’ personalities without really saying them outright.

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Another literary device Tim O’Brien employs is hapless false belief. or nature mirroring humans’ emotions. In the narrative Speaking of Courage. Norman Bowker attempts to salvage Kiowa’s life but fails. He becomes down and contrite about what he should hold been able to carry through. For a long clip subsequently. Bowker struggles with the fact that he was “braver than he of all time thought possible. but… non so weather as he wanted to be” ( 153 ) ; he is overcome with unhappiness and guilt. This is reflected in the conditions at the clip of Kiowa’s decease.

The soldiers were bivouacing out in a field along the Song Tra Bong. and “the rain kept acquiring worse. And by midnight the field turned into soup” ( 145 ) . The rain emulates the emotions of the weary and heartsick soldiers. Hapless false belief is a really utile technique because it helps to supply the tone for the narrative. If the narrative was a sad one but the conditions was bright and cheery. the tone of the narrative would be incorrect. and frailty versa. In Speaking of Courage. the fact that it was raining during the chief event of the narrative helps the reader addition and apprehension of merely how black and blue the events that occurred were.

Irony. or a disagreement between outlook and world. is another literary technique used by Tim O’Brien in The Things They Carried. Many of the rubrics of the narratives contain irony themselves. For illustration. Speaking of Courage is more centred on the subjects of failure and the inability to be brave than it is about bravery. The narrative Love is non. as it would look. about common love. but instead unanswered love. Field Trip. an look with a normally really positive intension. is a narrative about a visit to a battlefield where many lives had been lost.

The Story How to State a True War Story besides contains much sarcasm within it. The chief point of this narrative is that a true war narrative can non be told because the simple act of stating it makes it untrue. The rubric of this narrative is ironic- O’Brien makes the reader think that he wants to teach them how to state a true war narrative. but the reader shortly finds out O’Brien’s existent intention- that stating a true war narrative is impossible. Another dry thought within this narrative is the thought that war can be beautiful.

“You hatred it. yes. but your eyes do non. Like a wood fire. like malignant neoplastic disease under a microscope. any battle… has… a powerful. implacable beauty” ( 81 ) . This catches the reader napping because of how greatly it contrasts with the position of war we have been antecedently given. He continues to state that. “a true war narrative will state the truth about this. though the truth is ugly” ( 81 ) . This is really dry because although the existent event may be beautiful. if a true narrative is told about it. the narrative is ugly.

This adds to O’Brien’s point that stating a narrative. even a true one. can merely take away from the truth of the event. Using sarcasm. O’Brien can show his message in a originative an interesting manner. and this helps the readers understand his point better. Another technique used by Tim O’Brien is apposition. The narrative The Lifes of the Dead seems to be a spot of a non-sequitur to the remainder of the book. nevertheless. O’Brien has put it where it is for a ground. The point of The Things They Carried is non merely to state narratives about the Vietnam War- the lesson goes deeper than that.

It comes to learn that war is about more than merely fighting- it is about the connexion between life and decease. It is about larning to detach oneself from decease. It is about the sacredness and breakability of life. It is about so many things that many people ne’er have to see. But the Vietnam War is non O’Brien’s first clip coming into contact with these sorts of issues. As a kid. he had a beloved friend named Linda who died of malignant neoplastic disease. Linda’s decease was a major portion of his turning up procedure.

As a kid. he already had to larn to distance himself from her decease. stating. “It didn’t seem real… the miss prevarication in the white coffin wasn’t Linda” ( 241 ) . And although he did non recognize it at the clip. her decease helped him to cover with all the deceases he encountered in the war. For illustration. when Curt Lemon dies. O’Brien refuses to see his organic structure as a friend who died. Alternatively he says. “his organic structure was non truly a organic structure. but instead one little spot of waste in the thick of a much wider wastage” ( 238 ) .

The lessons that O’Brien learned as a kid are really relevant and linked to his experiences in the Vietnam War. which is why he chooses to include The Lifes of the Dead. But this is non the lone message that O’Brien wants us to take out of the inclusion The Lifes of the Dead in The Things They Carried- he wants to convey that even though something that happens in one’s life may look atrocious and meaningless. it may go of usage to him or her later in life. and it may assist him or her to acquire through an otherwise unwieldy clip.

O’Brien wants his reader to cognize that everything in life comes for a intent. Throughout The Things They Carried. Tim O’Brien makes usage of many different literary techniques. In the narrative The Things They Carried. O’Brien uses symbolism. In Speaking of Courage. the literary technique is hapless false belief. Irony is used in How to State a True War Story. among others. and apposition is used in the narrative The Lifes of the Dead. It can be seen that literary techniques have a simple but powerful consequence in The Things They Carried.


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