Field Trip Symbolism

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Resemblance: Tim O’Brien
In both short stories “The Man I Killed” and “Field Trip “ Tim O’Brien sheds light on the toll that death and war can have on the human spirit and ones emotions. In “The Man I Killed” O’Brien takes you on a dramatic journey to the field of battle as he kills his first casualty of war and in “Field Trip” he takes you back to the location he lost his best friend in battle. There is a strong theme of death and the way it toys with ones emotions throughout both stories and a beautiful use symbolism about finding the beauty of death through afterlife. At the same time we see how differently death can effect us and the stain it leaves on us.
These stories shine light on Tim O’Brien as he deals with death in the face of
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Butterflies are often seen as a symbol of life and to some even as a symbol of resurrection. In “ Field Trip” when Tim goes back to the field he describes how different it was now and how peaceful it was he say, “There were yellow butterflies” ( Field Trip 1). He also mentions them again later in the story. In “The Man I Killed” Tim talks about a butterfly landing on the mans face after he is killed, “The butterfly was making its way along the young mans forehead, which was spotted with small dark freckles.” (The Man I Killed 2). Both times the butterflies appear after death and one cant help but think that Tim uses this as a symbol of life and maybe an afterlife which could be a way of making him feel better about the loss if life.
Although both deal with the emotions that come along with death and war there are some very drastic differences as well. They both show very polar sides to the burden of war. First in “The Man I Killed” Tim O’Brien tries to create emotion as a way of connecting with the man he just murdered, while in “Field Trip” he tries to seek emotions by reconnection with somebody he lost. The show very opposite sides to war and prove that guilt can be felt from both
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