The Man I Killed By Tim O ' Brien

Decent Essays
War is known to be complex and confusing. It is also known to be completely chaotic and unpredictable. This is made clear in the short story The Man I Killed taken from Tim O 'Brien 's war novel The Things They Carried. Set during the Vietnam war, American Soldier Tim O 'Brien is strongly affected by an unpredictable event. In The Man I Killed we consider how O 'Brien was heavily affected and shocked after killing a young Vietnamese soldier and the randomness of killing in war. We also take a look at how the author plays with truth and non-fiction in his story telling.

When passing on foot through the village of My Khe, soldier O 'Brien instinctively threw a grenade and killed a young Vietnamese soldier. Taken back by the event, his character is isolated in still time, entangled in a state of shock. Through his confusion and guilt, O 'Brien 's strong narrative and protagonist presence fades to the background as he fixates on the life of his victim. He vividly describes the dead soldier, focusing on his physical characteristics and the wounds that were inflicted upon him. O 'Brien 's way of describing the young man, “His clean black hair was swept up into a cowlick, his forehead was lightly freckled, his finger nails clean, his right cheek was smooth and hairless” (139), makes the anonymous soldier more personal. His choice of descriptive words help to view the soldier as a real person not simply a defeated enemy. As another way of coping with his feelings, O 'Brien imagines
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