Beauty In Horror In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

1359 Words 6 Pages
Tim O'Brien’s novel, The Things They Carried, eloquently (NR) demonstrates the theme of ‘beauty in horror’. The novel emphasizes this theme through the underlying foil between beauty and atrocities that are not uncommon in war stories. O'Brien focuses on the imagery of these events as well as the tone to illustrate the difficulties that soldiers are exposed to and how they have been conditioned to their situation to no longer see the horror in these horrific events rather start seeing them as beautiful events. The relevance of this theme is most prevalent in the short story, “How to Tell a True War Story.” This short story illustrates many different barbaric events that have been very beautifully illustrated. The events like Curt Lemon’s death, …show more content…
The depiction of his death, however, made the tragic event out to be a beautiful and almost ceremonial event through the imagery that O'Brien so eloquently used. The quote uses beautiful imagery to illustrate his being blown into a tree as the following quote depicts, “I glanced behind me and watched Lemon step from the shade into bright sunlight. His face was suddenly brown and shining. A handsome kid, really. Sharp gray eyes, lean and narrow-waisted, and when he died it was almost beautiful, the way the sunlight came around him and lifted him up and sucked him high into a tree full of moss and vines and white blossoms” (34). O'Brien uses imagery in this scene to allude to the actual event being peaceful and very serene when in reality it is a scene of a soldier being blown into a tree after stepping on a rigged mortar round. The line, “sunlight came around him and lifted him up and sucked him high into a tree full of moss and vines and white blossoms” (34) really shows how conditioned the soldiers in this story are because when seeing someone being blown into a tree, people don’t often consider it a beautiful event, but rather people would (CC) see a very gory and painful event. This event in “How to Tell a True War Story,” really emphasizes the theme that soldiers that have been enlisted in the war have become very detached from reality in the sense that they have …show more content…
It is then revealed to the reader that this is all done in loving memory of Curt Lemon and that the imagery and tones used are used in order to manipulate the reader into not understanding why such tragic and violent events are expressed in the most nonchalant and frankly quite beautiful manner. O'Brien eloquently formatted the short story to allow the reader to confusingly try and comprehend what is being said by him and then reveals the real meaning behind the chapter in a simple sentence revealing the true relevance of every story within the chapter, “How to Tell a True War

Related Documents