The Man I Killed Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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In the chapter “The Man I Killed” by Tim O’Brien, he writes about his feeling of shame and guilt after he killed a man for the first time. He uses repetition to get his point across. He used it to describe the man’s physical traits, he wrote, “The one eye did a funny twinkling trick red to yellow. His head was wrenched sideways, as if loose at the neck, and the dead young man seemed to be staring at some distant object beyond the bell-shaped flowers along the trail. The blood at the neck had gone to a deep purplish black. Clean fingernails, clean hair—he had been a soldier for only a single day”(O’Brien 123). The man haunts him because he feels so guilty and ashamed for taking his life. Tim will remember that moment for the rest of his life…show more content…
He hoped in his heart that he would never be tested. He hoped the Americans would go away. Soon, he hoped. He kept hoping and hoping, always, even when he was asleep”(O’Brien 119). O’Brien repeatedly describes what he thought the man’s life was like, he bases it off himself. He was scared of the war and hoped the similar to the man, but in the end Tim faced his fear and he is ashamed of it. It hit him hard because it was like imagining himself be killed. Killing someone can bring an immense shock, O’Brien wrote, “‘Think it over,’ Kiowa said. Then later he said, ‘Tim, it's a war. The guy wasn't Heidi—he had a weapon, right? It's a tough thing, for sure, but you got to cut out that staring”(O’Brien 120). Just though the imagery that we receive from O’Brien we can see that Tim was very ashamed of his actions and the silence that overtook him. Tim feels really guilty and ashamed for killing that man and we see that through O’Brien’s…show more content…
“They shared the weight of memory. They took up what other could no longer bear. Often, they carried each other, the wounded or the weak”(O’Brien 14). The soldiers see terrible things they even watch their friends die. In psychology there is a myth that we can repress our memories, but that is because false negative memories are stored to let us defend for our survival. The weight of memory can be extremely heavy. O’Brien goes on to say, “Like cement, Kiowa whispered in the dark. I swear to God—boom, down. Not a word. I’ve heard this, said Norman Bowker. A pisser, you know? Still zipping. All right, fine. That’s enough. Yeah, but you had to see it, the guy just—”(O’Brien 16). Kiowa cannot stop repeating the memory of his fellow friend’s death. He was in so much shock from it he could not stop telling the story. He is coping with the death by repeating what he saw until he accepts that he died. He writes about how the soldiers felt during the war by saying, “They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing—these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried
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