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The Things They Carry Rhetorical Analysis

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Tim O'Brien's “The Things They Carry,” tells a story about the lives of young men during war. The narrator tells his story from first person, marking all of his adventures and experiences of his companions. O’Brien crafts his piece through the use of repetition, symbolism, and metaphors to convey the idea of physical and psychological hardships of soldiers during war. Though the literary device of repetition, O'Brien portrays the physical and psychological hardships of a soldier. For example, the narrator repeatedly describes the weight of weight during the soldiers arduous journey: “Among the necessities or near necessities were R-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellants, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets...2-3 canteens of water. Together these items weighted between 15-20 pounds” (O'Brien 470). Subsequently, the narrator and his companions embark on a perilous journey all while facing…show more content…
The narrator states, “They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity” (O’Brien 477). The metaphor describes how the soldiers had faced war for so long, they practically carried the setting they were in. Physically, they carried the environment on their bodies as odor. Metaphorically, it explains the incredible weight they carried since they “carried gravity” which explains the weight of the country they were fighting in and what the war meant to them. Another way a metaphor is used is “when someone died it wasn’t dying...because they had their lines memorized, irony mixes” (O’Brien 480). According to the evidence, psychologically, it describes the idea of death in the minds of all soldiers while physically they had to endure suffering. Therefore, all soldiers are shown to have hardships through
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