Essay On Tim O 'Brien's The Things They Carried'

439 Words 2 Pages
In challenging times, relationships become essential for survival; however it is those very same relationships that create hardship and torment. Tim O’Brien manipulates tone in his novel, The Things They Carried, in order to demonstrate the distress that arises due to his fixation on his relationships. In the chapter Ghost Soldiers, O’Brien is shot in combat and moved away from his companions, causing him to feel alone and act out in desperation to belong. When reunited with his fellow soldiers he finds that he is no longer wanted, while Jorgensen, a man O’Brien despises, is favored by the group. A conversation with a former friend leaves O’Brien feeling disheartened: “‘I hate to say this, man, but you’re out of touch. Jorgenson - he’s with …show more content…
The relationships that once supported him and made life easier during the war, now stir negative feelings within him. These negative feelings grow until they result in a cruel prank on Jorgenson, the man O’Brien believes is to blame for the decaying of his relationships. In the scariness of the night O’Brien strikes: “There was that coldness inside me. I wasn’t myself. I felt hollow and dangerous. . . . Like a puppeteer. Yank on the ropes watch the silly wooden soldier jump and twist. . . . In a way I wanted to stop myself. It was cruel, I knew that, but right and wrong were somewhere else” (334,335). Again, O’Brien manipulates syntax and tone in order to make the reader understand his actions are influenced by his feelings of being outcasted. The series of telegraphic sentences create an overwhelming feeling of inquietude. In addition, O’Brien intertwines longer sentences in the form of lists because they emphasize this feeling of anxiety by quickening the pace of the story. This strong feeling of anxiety combines with the eerie setting to create a perturbed tone. Through this perturbed tone and rigid syntax, the internal agony O’Brien endures leaks through his

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