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Published: 24-11-2019

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The Point of View of a Vietnam War Soldier Through the Use of Imagery, Tone, and Syntax in The Things They Carried, a Novel by Tim O'Brien

War is a devastating and dramatic expertise for soldiers. Their circumstances, both physical and psychological, had been nothing at all brief of horrendous. In Tim O’Brien’s novel The Factors They Carried, he depicts life from the point of view of a soldier for the duration of the Vietnam War. Via his use of imagery, tone, and syntax, O’Brien portrays the ambiguity and robotic methodology of war, juxtaposing the numerous things the soldiers carry physically with the burden they carry emotionally.

They are described as mules and freight trains, carrying baggage and moving on to their subsequent programmed stop. For what reason they do not know however they push forward just due to the fact they were told to. They walk by means of the Vietnam soil that O’Brien describes as a “powdery orange-red dust” that covered their boots and faces. Agent Orange the orange-red dust that would possibly give them a myriad of cancers, Hodgkin’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or several other life altering diseases. This novel has profoundly detailed descriptions, creating them quite effective. He makes use of the description in a metaphoric way. He tells of the unnecessary physical possessions they all carry on their backs along with other feelings of sentimental strain they carry inside. With the detailed description of the things they carried, O’Brien makes strong statements about the men who fought in the Vietnam War alongside him. The factors the soldiers carried in Vietnam obviously stuck with them throughout their lives.

The tone of the novel is cynical and distanced. He doesn’t include himself when he mentions the things they carried. The reader can assume it is due to the fact he too has been terribly burdened by this war and it pains him to talk about it. “They carried illnesses, amongst them malaria and dysentery. They carried lice and ringworm and leeches and paddy algae and a variety of rots and molds. They carries the land itself─ Vietnam, the place…The entire atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it they carried gravity.” The narrator tells us of how the land of Vietnam impacted the soldiers physically. Their encounter on this land, a option that was made for them that gave them such crucial illnesses. The metaphor of the soldiers carrying the sky and the atmosphere it shows that the war will be ingrained into them. They had been changed physically and emotionally and ended up becoming scarred for life. He emphasizes the purposelessness of their actions. Saying that when ravaging a village at times they would commence a fire or maybe often they wouldn’t. This highlights the unnecessary destruction the war did to the land physically and to the soldiers psychologically.

The syntax O’Brien utilizes is a pattern of 1 lengthy drawn-out sentence followed by short, frank ones. This shows the prolonged hardships he went through and the abrupt stops show the reality of his war encounter. He tries to get past it.With the abrupt stop and new, quick sentence that follows, the reader can comprehend that what he feels is real and he has been burdened by his time in Vietnam for his entire life. One sentence about the soldiers plodding along gradually and dumbly is stretched for nine lines ahead of it comes to a halt. He described the loss of their patriotism, the loss of their desire, their hope, their sensibility, their intellect.

In his novel The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien describes a group of soldiers marching via Vietnam carrying the simple “necessities” for survival in the Vietnam War. But they also carry memories, and fears, and burdens far more than their tangible things. The weight of this abstract baggage is as actual as that of something on their backs, and in contrast to those physical objects, they are not so very easily cast away. O’Brien says “for all the ambiguities of Vietnam, all the mysteries and unknowns, there was at least the single abiding certainty that they would in no way be at a loss of issues to carry.”
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