The Things They Carried Rhetorical Analysis

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The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien tells the stories of multiple war veterans who have served in the Vietnam War. It takes a very in-depth approach to explaining the veterans’ experiences, feelings, and views both during the war, and after the war. Throughout the novel, readers learn that things you either do, or don’t do in life, can make you feel the same way as the war veterans. O’Brien uses symbolism and regretful tone to teach readers that the results of your actions in war can lead to you experiencing shame, remorse, and guilt for the rest of your life. O’Brien uses symbolism to show that Lieutenant Jimmy Cross has to deal with the survivor’s guilt of letting his platoon member, Tim Lavender, die in the warzone. Cross is often …show more content…

This situation with soldiers using this type of tone to explain how they feel shows up many times throughout the novel, but it is most apparent in this situation due to the war being over for more than twenty years, and O’Brien still felt the same way, or even worse than before. When explaining his current point of view on the death of the soldier, O’Brien states “Even now I hadn’t finished sorting it out. Sometimes I forgive myself, other times I don’t. In the ordinary hours of life I try not to dwell on it, but now and then, when I’m reading a newspaper or just sitting alone in a room. I’ll look up and see the young man step out of the morning fog.” (O’Brien 128.) With the tone being used in this quote, readers already know that the actions you commit in war have the ability to stick with you for the rest of your life, but they also learn that although a significant amount of time has passed, that doesn’t necessarily mean that becoming comfortable with the situation will become easier, because O’Brien and his other platoon members are the perfect examples of this. Dealing with situations like these can even become harder as you progress throughout life because every time you think of a resolution, more and more questions arise about what you should and shouldn’t have done. Readers recognize that the things they do, or don’t do in life can make them feel the same way as the war

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