Literary Devices Used in the Things They Carried Essay

895 Words Nov 9th, 2010 4 Pages
Literary Devices Used In The Things They Carried
By: Tom Vennemann
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien expresses the importance of a story-truth, as opposed to a happening-truth by use of literary elements in his writing. The novel is about war and the guilt it leaves on everyone involved in the war. Story-truth is not exactly what happened, but uses part of the truth and part made up in order to express the truth of what emotion was felt, which an important thematic element in the novel is. The three literary devices he uses to express this are diction, imagery, juxtaposition, and hyperbole. All of these elements allow the reader to identify emotion that is expressed in each story, as though that were the complete truth.
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Usage of imagery in The Things They Carried is what introduces a reader to the emotion that was felt by O'Brien. In this novel, imagery goes hand in hand with repetition. In The Man I Killed, O'Brien is constantly repeating the image of the boy that he killed in his mind, which allows the reader to get a clear view of the boy. This is only a story-truth, it is true to the reader because that is simply what we are told to picture. Imagery is important because it describes the setting and place, and what importance that played in the big picture of O’Brien’s war. Even though it is not the exact truth, it expressed truth in the form of emotion. The emotion that his images create in us is similar to the emotion that O'Brien felt at the time of the event.
The exaggeration that O'Brien expresses in his story, also known as hyperbole, gives the reader a feeling of speaking with a man that just experienced the war of his life an hour before you two are speaking. The emotion is
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