Similarities Between The Things They Carried And Elizabeth Bowen

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Djanie 1 Pfeffel Djanie Michael Rambadt Eng 102 11/17/16 Death and Its Impact on Characters in Tim O’Brien’s ‘The Things They Carried’ and Elizabeth Bowen’s ‘Demon Lover’: War and death are themes that often come together in many literary works. Tim O’Brien in his works The Things They Carried and Ambush together with Elizabeth Bowen in her text Demon Lover explore these themes. In The Things They Carried, the rest of the soldiers watch Lavender die and show mixed feelings towards him. For example, Kiowa makes fun of his death whereas O’Brien is greatly shaken by this reality. O’Brien is living with sad memories of the war he participated in himself. ‘he lay at the center of the trail, his right leg bent beneath him’ (O’Brien 349). Death …show more content…

The characters who have fought so long have learned to withstand its view and impacts. For instance, Kiowa stands out as a character hard to be disturbed by death. ‘Kiowa, who saw it happen, said it was like watching a rock fall’ (O’Brien 14). He lavishes praise on Lavender for his braveness when he was shot dead by the enemy. Through this, O’Brien brings out Kiowa as a relatively courageous individual who sees death as a normal thing to happen to a soldier fighting wars like theirs. However, Bowen is keen to demonstrate death as highly feared and impactful on people’s lives. Life to Kathleen changes significantly after the death of the soldier she loved ‘she already felt that unnatural promise drive down between her and the rest of humankind’ (Bowen …show more content…

‘the grenade was to make him go away-just evaporate-and I leaned back and felt my mind go empty’ (O’Brien 349). Here, O’Brien shows how he had no intent to kill. However, the outcomes of the war disturb him so much that he wishes not to recall what happened. ‘none of it mattered. The words seemed far too complicated. All I could do was gape at the fact of the young man’s body’ (O’Brien 350). Consequently, O’Brien is to live with this guilt for a long time. ‘it was a difficult moment, but I did what seemed right’ (O’Brien 348). Similarly, Kathleen is reminded of the dead soldier and their appointment by even a small hint like a letter. For instance, she feels uncomfortable after seeing the mysterious letter inside her house. The letter had no stamp, address and thus makes her think it was brought through supernatural powers. However, considering the fact that O’Brien kills Kiowa, their earlier mutual respect can only be seen as a way to achieve convenience in their work. They have to fight as a unit and thus the need for them to co-operate and respect each other. However, when confrontations arise, these men can be fatal to each other. O’Brien shows the hardship that men endured. They have to depend on each other’s company for survival despite their individual differences. Moreover, these men have fought many wars and have taken away

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