The Man I Killed Literary Analysis

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“Jimmy Cross, Norman Bowker... - slog through the emptiness and dangers of their Vietnam tour in this haunting and acclaimed collection …” (Tim O’Brien). By just reading the synopsis of The Thing They Carried on the back of the cover, it is presumably believed that the book is about a platoon of heroic and glorious American soldiers, who fought in the Vietnam War. However, there is no mention of any primary Vietnamese characters except for the chapters “The Man I Killed,” and “Style.” On the whole, the perceptions and experiences of American soldiers are reflected throughout the book. The absence of the Vietnamese characters from the rest of the text raises essential questions about the main purpose of the narrative for writing and distinction…show more content…
By using the ability of fiction to resist to death, the American soldiers could "[keep] the dead alive with stories" during the time of war (O’Brien 230). The ambiguous storytelling serves the purpose of immortalizing the memories while remembering causes forgetting. "That 's what a story does. The bodies are animated. You make the dead talk" (O’Brien 232). The chapter “The Lives of The Death” distinguishes among all chapters in a way that it indicates the attempt of O’Brien to return the people he lost to the world though dreaming, which is the most basic form of storytelling. “I keep dreaming Linda alive. And Ted Lavender, too, and Kiowa, and Curt Lemon, and a slim young man I killed…” (O’Brien 221). All the people become immortal on the pages of The Things They Carried. By breaking the limits of life, the characters become sensory and tangible with the help of animation and memorializing. This imagination and storytelling can be associated with escapism to draw comfort and not confront with the harsh reality itself. The death of Linda is an example of preservation of his memories to deal with the grief of his losses. After Linda dies, she begins to appear in O’Brien’s dreams and illuminates the message that “it doesn’t matter” (O’Brien 27), whether she is dead or not. O’Brien feels the necessity of telling stories and daydreaming Linda to deal with his traumatic
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