Theme Of The Man I Killed And Ambush By Tim O Brien

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In Tim O’Brien’s novel, “The Things They Carried”, many details throughout the chapters created different themes that one must pick up on by reading thoroughly into the text. “The Man I Killed” and “Ambush” are examples of that with the common subject of the unknown created by the “fog” in both chapters. The fog represents the unknown and deception, and looking deeper into the text, one can see the philosophical implications O’Brien creates using the fog and literary devices to create a deeper storyline within the novel. Though “The Man I Killed” was a chapter before “Ambush”, the events O’Brien references back to in his memory happen before the events occurring in “The Man I Killed”, making more sense to begin at “Ambush”. The first mention …show more content…

Later he encounters a young man who walks out of that fog. O’Brien notices that the young man was at ease and carried his weapon with one hand, certainly not prepared for any surprises. However, despite the seemingly low threat the young man had on O’Brien after he stepped out of the fog, O’Brien was already prepared to throw one of his grenades. O’Brien also mentions that the young man seems to be apart of the “morning fog” or his “imagination”. The fog created a misguided impression of the soldier that O’Brien fell into, making him easily fall into the fear of the unknown. The fog twisted the young man into a monster; the fog is lying. Due to the fog distorting the truth, O’Brien acted on the specious imagery, but later regrets it. A moment too late, O’Brien realizes that the soldier was harmless and the fog just magnified his threat. Similar to the idea of the fog in this passage, Hermann Hesse’s poem, “In the Fog”, comes to mind due to the manipulation the fog has on the protagonist’s mind. The man in the poem mentions how strange it is to walk in the fog due to how it …show more content…

The beginning of “The Man I Killed” starts off with a thorough description of the man’s features. The use of asyndeton is prevalent, but then flows into polysyndeton. This unbroken chain created a tone of disbelief. This is the disbelief that O’Brien has for himself; that he had just killed a man, a human. Not a monster like what the fog made him out to be. This man he killed was just living and breathing, and in a blink of an eye, all of that was stripped from him, and he is lying on the cold, hard ground. Throughout the chapter, O’Brien creates a complex narrative of the life this man lived. O’Brien had no idea who he was or what his real backstory was, but he weaved together a type of biography for him. Throughout this “history” of the man, Kiowa is in the background trying to get O’Brien to snap out of it and realize that they are at war. He tried to make him realize that he did the right thing, and that it was either O’Brien kill the man or the man kill him. However O’Brien saw the man he killed come out of the fog. He saw how harmless he was, and he saw how much the man was like himself. He saw the humanity within the man he killed, and he saw that humanity stripped away from him in a second. Kiowa is still surrounded by the fog; what he sees is a monster. As

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