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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He was questioning what he had done, why he was there. The scene is put in the novel to show that even though he did not kill the man, the intense mess of feelings O'Brien had felt when he saw that man die in front of him. For him, watching someone die is included in the definition of being "guilty". “I did not kill him. But I was present, you see, and my presence was guilt enough” (171).
O’Brien does not exaggerate the blood or downplay the unsanitary conditions of war. Although he admits to “setting up in a shit field,” he does not not exaggerate the amount of fighting he witnessed in Vietnam (161). Rather than depicting a clean but gory war, O’Brien shares the disgusting, mind-destroying parts of his service. He emphasizes that serving in Vietnam does not entail fighting battle-after-battle. In fact, he mentions that in one year, he only saw one intruder.
Death, especially of a close family member or friend, can cause one to lose hope. Death could include a loss of a loved one, a loss of oneself, or a loss of a passion. In The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien reveals the significance of death each soldier must come to terms with and the impact that death has on them, their character, and their actions. Each soldier carries objects that represent who they are, what they long for, and what they love. This is what remains constant for the boys in a world of war and death.
This quote epitomizes the trauma caused by war. O’Brien is trying to cope, mostly through writing these war stories but has yet to put it behind him. He feels guilt, grief, and responsibility, even making up possible scenarios about the life of the man he killed and the type of person he was. This
Death is something that occurs often in a war due to the violence and dangerous areas. Everyone takes on the thought of someone dying in different ways, whether they maintained a close relationship with the person or not guilt could become an instant reaction of the persons' death because of a feeling of maybe being responsible for the death that occurred. The thought of maybe being responsible for one of the soldiers that you have spent day night serving with could leave an enormous amount of guilt in one person. When witnessing a death or anything traumatic it is easy to blame someone else or even yourself for the tragic accident. Multiple characters in the book The Things They Carried demonstrated the guilt and responsibility of another
At this moment, O’Brien is going through remorse for himself. He does not think that he should be forced to fight in this war when he does not believe in what they are fighting for. O’Brien believes that the war was unjust because “certain blood was being shed for uncertain reasons” (1002).O’Brien
In today’s world people often overlook the gruesome and violent events that occur, rather than confronting the issue. In Tim O’Brien’s metafiction novel, The Things They Carried, he avoids sugarcoating the scenes that soldiers faced before, during, and after the war by describing the gore and violence in every detail. By including the scenes of violence, Tim O’Brien portrays the horrific effects of war on soldiers and the unnecessary casualties that the soldiers experience. Whether it be Rat Kiley murdering a baby water buffalo, Azar blowing up a puppy, or Lee Strunk begging his friend not to kill him after an explosion, O’Brien assures that the audience will have to confront the conflicts that these soldiers faced. Going into war involves
Knowledge of course, is always imperfect, but it seemed to me that when a nation goes to war it must have reasonable confidence in the justice and imperative of its cause. You can 't fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you can 't make them undead” (38-39). Because O’Brien had witnessed so much death and destruction he knew how important it was to have all the facts first.
In The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, ambiguity is used to enforce the character of the story. O’Brien communicates the struggle of being on the battlefield, however it wasn’t a choice but a matter of abstract selection in which he couldn’t deny. O’Brien uses series of fear, the savage of the war on the soldiers and how the over certain fear. Repetition of the emphasize the ambiguity of dead. O’Brien fears going to war, he was about to risk his life.
In this chapter, O’Brien used repetition, a motif, and symbolism to stress the futility of the Vietnam war. First off, the word “Rain” is repeated numerous times throughout the chapter. This repetitious motif symbolizes war, as the war is all around, like how the word is all around the chapter. Furthermore, O’Brien used “Rain” when referring to everlasting events in the story, alongside setting a sad tone (war is never a happy event). For instance, during the hard trek through the waterlogged Song Tra Bong, the rain pounded on the men as they sought out Kiowa.
The guy wasn’t Heidi- he has a weapon, right?” (126) However, by giving insight on the man’s life, the reader learns that similarly to O’Brien, the man he killed originally had no intention of fighting. He wanted to be a scholar. The collections of short stories in “The Things They Carried” come together to show how complex war can be.
This shows that they did not care for the death of that man. Also, everyone had mixed feelings about the death of one of their own, Ted Lavender. Kiowa really did not know what to feel when he discovered about Lavender’s death. For example, the story mentions, “He wished he could find some great sadness, or even anger, but the emotion wasn’t there and he couldn’t make it happen” (O’Brien 306).
When Lyman was looking at the picture it dawned on him, unlike the car, Henry cannot be repaired. The dark truth behind the mental image of Henry’s brother shows that his soul did not return back from Vietnam. Lyman’s avoidance of the photograph shows the murkiness behind the photograph. His detail of the photograph creates a mental image of Henry’s suffering and distance from reality he could never overcome. He hides this photograph in his closet because he would never get to understand what his brother went through while being imprisoned.
In the chapter “The Man I Killed” O’Brien killed a man he felt should not have been killed. Kiowa helps O’Brien through it. “I'm serious. Nothing anybody could do. Come on, stop staring” (O’Brien 120).
This chapter “The Ghost Soldiers”, showed us how Tim O’Brien and the other soldiers were dealing with the war both physically and psychologically. It also shows us how the Tim O'Brien behaved and felt when he was shot, wounded and had a bacteria infection on his butt and how the war changed the way he thought, and viewed the other soldiers around him. This chapter also contain a lot of psychological lens. From the way Tim O’Brien felt when he was shot and separated from his unit to a new unit to when he wanted revenge on Bobby Jorgenson for almost “killing” him.