In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, he emphasizes a chapter on “The Man I Killed”, which

900 WordsApr 23, 20194 Pages
In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, he emphasizes a chapter on “The Man I Killed”, which describes the characteristics of a young Vietnamese man in which O’Brien may or may not have killed with a grenade. The novel is not chronologically sequenced, which leaves more room for the reader to engage in a critical thought process that fully bridges the author’s mind to their own. In O’Brien’s chapter, “The Man I Killed”, he attempts to humanize the enemy in a way that draws little separation between the enemy and himself by relating the enemy’s life prior to the war to his, and illustrates the war through the eyes of the soldiers who fought it. To understand “The Man I Killed”, the reader must first enlighten themselves upon O’Brien’s…show more content…
It wasn’t until he went to war and was faced with the enemy that he would realize that the enemy wasn’t so different after all. “His jaw was in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, his one eye was shut, his other eye was a star-shaped hole...,” writes O’Brien as he studies the deceased enemy (118). Throughout the novel, the author shows consistency with repeating stories and lines in a way to present a greater image. He reminds the reader of details the elaborate his larger view. When he writes of the man he killed, he wants the reader to imagine themselves in his shoes, as he imagined himself in the enemies’. As he carefully studies the dead man, he imagines how the boy found himself in the war. By relating American society to the boy’s village of My Khe, he bridges similarities connecting the two by a culture that promotes defending one’s land and ways of life. By saying, “he would have been taught that to defend the land was a man’s highest duty and highest privilege,” he shows there is minimal difference between how most Americans view the military and the duty of the villagers in My Khe (119). Although he had not known the exact history of the boy, he attempted to illustrate in his own mind what his life may have been like prior to the invasion. The inability for O’Brien to walk away from the body as Kiowa continued to pry him away says he was troubled by the similarities. Despite Kiowa saying it could have been him lying lifeless on

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