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The Man I Killed in the Things They Carried, Written by Tim O'Brien

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The Man I Killed

Be honest, have you ever thought of killing someone, even to the slightest light bulb flash in your mind? Most ethnic groups around the world have their own set of belief, culture, religion and morals. Killing a person is one of the most fouled action or behavior, also it requires a lot of courage to do so. As I was reading the chapter "The Man I Killed" in The Things They Carried, written by Tim O'Brien, I was a bit confused when I was reading the text for the first time, I was not sure what idea Tim O'Brien was trying to convey to his readers. Furthermore, Tim O'Brien( the character) did not respond to his fellow American soldier Kiowa's questions and statements and did not laugh or respond to the dark humor that the other American soldier, Azar used on the dead vietnam soldier Tim O'Brien killed. What is the rational cause behind Tim O'Brien thought processes? How difficult is it to escape bad memories acquired from the war. The story was written by Tim O'Brien many years after he went to Vietnam. There are a lot of methods that one can use to murder, such as using a knife, a grenade or a gun, some requires more skills with that particular weapon in order to use it correctly--- but some weapon requires little to no skills. Killing a person is as hard as using a knife to cut bananas, but the horrible imagery of memories stay inside of you for a long long time. If killing a person does not intervene with your beliefs, morals or consciences, it will be easy for you to escape horrific memories.

Tim O'Brien was forced to go to a war that he had no interest in by the government, his encounter with the man that he killed was fictional. In this chapter, Tim O'Brien uses smooth language and diction to underline the emotional difficulty that he faces after he killed a "scholar" from the viet cong. Throughout the story, he repeats the same description of the man he killed for 3 times, including the ironic butterfly on the death man face (beauty on dirt). The Butterfly can symbolize as a reborn, a new life. The repetition that he has used in this chapter are "Jaw was in his throat"(172), which can translate into the feeling of guilt from killing this man. The man Tim O'Brien killed can be analyzed as undeveloped and only a child, also the clean fingernails indicate the man has only recently join the war. Tim O'Brien describe him as feminine because "his eyebrows and long shapely fingers, and on the playground they mimicked a woman's walk and made fun of his smooth skin" (174). Yet, all of these comments or thoughts are pointing out the mistake that Tim O'Brien himself has made, that he killed the innocent new recruit that he later described in his own mind "he was not a communist. He was a citizen and a soldier" (173). You can see the quote above state that the man Tim O'Brien killed is not considered a communist, which means not an enemy. Also Tim O'Brien put citizen in front of soldier because the outlook, body structure of the dead man seems child like.



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