Things They Carried Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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In war, there is a winning side and a losing side, but both suffer casualties. Afflictions are not always dealt in death and physical pain, but also emotional damage. In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, he emphasizes war’s capabilities to change people. When Mary Anne, a sweet, innocent, all-American girl, arrives in Vietnam to be with her soldier boyfriend, change is inevitable, and she will eventually lose her naiveté. O’Brien utilizes personification, jarring imagery, hyperbole, and pathos to convey that war shatters all innocence, no matter how hard one may try to avoid the change. O’Brien employs personification to convey how Mary Anne’s change after being exposed to war affects Mark Fossie, who so desperately wants her to remain…show more content…
Mary Anne’s transformation from a sweet girlfriend to an unrecognizable being that is even stranger than the Greenies represents the loss of innocence that all the soldiers in Vietnam go through. The men of Alpha Company each carried with them something that would anchor them to the world of cleanliness and peace they had left behind. Lieutenant Carter carried his letters, Henry Dobbins carried his girlfriend’s pantyhose, Kiowa carried his moccasins, and Rat Kiley carried comic books. These objects allowed them to stay temporarily anchored to their worlds without war. Eventually, they all inevitably passed into the war, and would never be able to regain their old innocence. The Things They Carried constantly emphasizes the juxtaposition between the war in Vietnam and the peace back home. O’Brien’s constant emphasis on the idea that war is a personal thing that can’t be fully explained or told about reveals his main purpose for crafting The Things They Carried- war does not leave even one person unscathed, and after it is over, those changes will never go away. The war is so personal an experience because it leaves everyone involved permanently altered, and each person’s change is too specialized to be explained to
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