Literary Techniques In The Things They Carried

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In his The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien reflects on his experiences in Vietnam in the form of a fictional story. In order to portray his experiences in a manner that accurately reflects his thoughts and emotions of the time, O’Brien implements various structural techniques throughout his work. By distorting the story with inaccurate chronology and repeatedly connecting the fictional stories to his own, O’Brien emphasizes the harsh impact of the war on others. The repetitious nature of O’Brien’s stories emphasize the importance of specific events and how they affect the underlying themes of the book. The story regarding Kiowa’s death is mentioned upwards of five times throughout the novel at different points. Readers get to experience …show more content…

For example, the first chapter of the book starts off as a narrative of the people the the literal things they carried, O’Brien never mentioned himself. Later on he says, “I remember, we paused over a snapshot of Ted Lavender, and after a while Jimmy rubbed his eyes and said he’d never forgiven himself for Lavender’s death” (28). O’Brien is able to point out experiences and explain them, while adding in an aspect of storytelling, as he can recall them. As he continues to write, more memories are brought to the surface. Doing this, readers re-live the horrors faced by O’Brien in Vietnam in the same structure and timeline as he does, which aids in creating and defending a theme surrounding the downfalls and struggles of soldiers, both during combat and their life following. The lack of chronology also allows readers to understand the chaos and confusion associated with war indirectly. By jumping around in the timeline, O’Brien parallels the strong feelings of confusion, displacement, and chaos that him as well as all other soldiers feel while in combat. Readers experience confusion as the soldiers do, though it is on a significantly smaller

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