Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Assignment 5

Personal Review of The Things They Carried
            I thought that The Things They Carried was a good book to read.  Usually, this would not be my first book of choice to read for fun, but nevertheless, it is a good, informative read.  Although this is a work of fiction, it is based on some of Tim O’Brien’s experiences during the Vietnam War.  One thing that I really loved was the symbolism in this book.  I liked the idea that the men not only carried their belongings, but their burdens too.  These stories really gave me an insight of what a soldier’s life was, what he witnessed, and how he survived it all.  This book had many good uses of tone, theme, mood, symbolism, similes, diction, syntax, and imagery, and I really like books that have many rhetorical strategies in them.  At sometimes, the stories were really sad and the imagery of people dying was too descriptive, and there was some vulgar language, but other than that I thought everything else was of.  I am very glad that I had the chance to read this book.     

Assignment 4

The Things They Carried: Text Connections
            In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried in the chapter “Style,” O’Brien and a few of the soldiers witness a young girl dancing through the wreckage of what once was a village.  A text-to-self can be made here.  Even though the town is in ruins, and there was smoke in the air, the young girl kept dancing.  A couple of the soldiers wonder why she is dancing, but none can explain it.  I can though.  In this chapter we learn that this girl has lost her town, her home, everything she owns, and her family.  Dancing is the only thing she has left.  Dance is a way for her to escape and to pretend that things are ok.  No matter what situation I am in, dance is always there for me.  It is a way for me to escape and to forget the world.  The girl puts her hands over her ears at one point.  This symbolizes that she will not pay attention to her surroundings and will pretend not to see her dead family.  I will sometimes dance to forget; to be free.  When I dance I feel like I am in a whole other world, and that there are no worries.  I can relate to this girl, and I know that she dances for the same reasons.

Assignment 3

The Things They Carried: Syntax
Examples of Syntax:
  • “Here is the story-truth.  He was a slim, dead, almost dainty young man of twenty.  He lay in the center of a red clay trail near the village of My Khe.  His jaw was in his throat.  His one eye was shut, the other eye was a star-shaped hole.  I killed him” (172).
The syntax that the author uses in this quote influences the purpose of this piece.  This quote is form the chapter “Good Form.”  O’Brien is uses very few, short sentences in this passage to put emphasis on the fact that he killed a man, and he is not proud of it.  The quote also mentions the description of the young man, which has a very guilty effect on O’Brien.  In this chapter, it is many years later, and he can still remember what the man looked like.  The purpose is to show that even after all these years, he stills feels guilty for killing that man. 

Assignment 2

The Things They Carried: Diction
The author uses several types of diction in The Things They Carried to create different tones.  An example of the author’s diction can be seen in the chapter “The Lives of the Dead.”  Sometimes I can even see Timmy skating with Linda under the yellow floodlights.  I’m young and happy.  I’ll never die. I’m skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy’s life with a story” (232-233).  O’Brien’s use of diction in this quote helps to create a very optimistic tone.  He is recalling a very happy memory about his family who he loved very much.  He also created a hopeful tone within this diction because he is hoping for a better future.

Assignment 1

The Things They Carried: Rhetorical Strategies
Rhetorical Strategies:
  • Symbolism
In The Things They Carried the author’s style is seen through the symbolism of the things that the soldiers carry with them.  They carried with them objects of sentimental value to them, food, weapons, things to remind them of home, but they also carried guilt and fear with them.  The list of objects that the men carry symbolizes a window to the emotional burdens that they bear.
  • Simile
In The Things They Carried the author’s style is seen through the simile used in the chapter “The Dentist.”  Curt Lemon’s toothache is described as “a killer, he said – like a nail in his jaw” (84).  He claims that his tooth hurts so much that it feels like there is a nail in his jaw.
  • Mood
In The Things They Carried the author’s style is seen through the mood of the chapter “The Man I Killed.”  The guilt that O’Brien feels for killing the man creates a haunting mood.
  • Imagery
In The Things They Carried the author’s style is seen through the imagery of the following quote.  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, his nose was undamaged” (118).  This quotation, from “The Man I Killed,” describes the corpse of a Vietnamese soldier that O’Brien killed with a grenade.  This passage gives descriptive imagery that O’Brien uses to come to portray the boy that he killed.  O’Brien’s description of the star-shaped hole in the boy’s eye represents the fact that even when dead, the boy was still watching him.