Comparing O Brien's The Things They Carried And Carl Hiaasen

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“What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.”
― Logan Pearsall Smith
Logan Pearsall Smith, an American-born British essayist, comments on how good authors convey a deeper meaning in their work than what is simply written. Tim O 'Brien, the author of “The Things They Carried,” and Carl Hiaasen, the author of “Skinny Dip,” both use this technique in their writing. In both novels, the authors share details of the setting to inflict guilt onto the story’s character.

Tim O’Brien emphasizes the struggles of war through the setting and shows how it affects the soldiers’ views of blame in the novel “The Things They Carried.” In the first short story of the book, which is also called “The Things They Carried,” O’Brien’s platoon loses a member named Ted Lavender. O’Brien tells the story in third person limited narration from the point of view of the platoon leader,
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Charles Perrone, also known as Chaz, was married to his wife, Joey, until he threw her overboard from the side of a cruise ship. Chaz failed in his attempt of murdering his wife, Joey, but he believes that she is dead at sea. Hiaasen uses the setting of the couple’s house to influence Chaz’s emotions. Chaz is a man who values physical attraction over emotional interest, therefore it is fitting that being in the house that he once shared with his wife would trigger his sexual desires. After entering the house, Chaz recalls the details of his wife that he loved the most, thinking that “The place smelled lightly of Joey’s favorite perfume, a scent that never failed to arouse him,” (70). Joey’s aroma leaves Chaz confused about his emotions. However, the more time he spends in the house the worse he begins to feel. Eventually, while in his bedroom, his actions catch up to his guilty conscious and he breaks down, screaming “I didn’t want to kill her!”
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