The Man I Killed, by Tim O'Brien

1229 Words5 Pages
"We have to start treating Vietnam as a country and not a war. It'll take the old age and death of all veterans before it stops being our 51st state (Alvarez, 2013)." In the story "The Man I Killed", Tim O'Brien, who served in the U.S military in Vietnam, describes the guilt many American soldiers felt about the atrocities they committed in Vietnam. "Vietnam is not an appendage of America. That sort of thinking got us into the mess in the first place. Were bound together by some painful history, but it’s not our liver or our appendix- it's a country (Alvarez, 2013)."
The Vietnam War was one of the longest and most expensive wars in American history. It started from 1955 till April 30, 1975. This war lasted for almost 20 years. According
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Throughout the story the soldier describes how his enemy looks like. At the beginning of the story it starts by describing how the soldier, Tim was just standing in front of the men he had just killed while the American troop of soldiers were moving from destination preparing for another day at war. He just keeps repeating all over again the same details about the man that he had just killed, "his eye was a star-shaped hole" (Davis, Harrison, Johnson, Smith, and Crawford). Azar, an American soldier congratulates Tim on killing the enemy. Azar was the kind of soldier that didn’t care about their enemies, he actually felt joy in killing them. Kiowa, another American soldier sees that he is in shock on what he had done so tells Azar to leave him alone. Kiowa is more sympathetic. Tim imagines what have had been the life of the soldier that he had killed. He makes up a fictional biography of his victim. He imagines that the Vietnamese soldier was always afraid of going to war and that he could never thought that he could be a hero, he had always avoided politics. The only reason why he was at war was because he didn’t want to disgrace himself, his family and the village. He imagined his victim since he was a little boy, being afraid of growing up and wishing that the Americans would leave. As he grew up and went to the university his hopes began to diminish and was just waiting. He devoted himself
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