The Man He Killed And Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

Decent Essays
War is arguably one of the most emotional and horrific events in the lives of those who must partake in it. Many soldiers begin to question, “why me?” and begin to think about what is happening back home. In Thomas Hardy’s, The Man He Killed, and Tim O’Brien’s, “The Things They Carried”, these ideas are explored. The depth of these authors diction compels the reader to be thankful that they do not have to set foot on the battlefield, presenting the loneliness, anger and confusion of these weakened soldiers. Both Hardy and O’Brien offer the theme of war giving returning soldiers posttraumatic stress in their writings. In Hardy’s, The Man He Killed, Hardy uses ‘what if’ scenarios to invoke painful memories. For instance, the speaker mentions, …show more content…
In the poem, The Man He Killed, the soldier shows uncertainty saying, “I shot him dead because-/Because he was my foe./ Just so: my foe of course he was;/ That’s clear enough; although”(Hardy, 5-8). With the soldier’s lengthy pause in his statement, the reader can obviously tell that the soldier has no clue as to why he had to kill another. The soldier says this line almost ‘matter of factly’ but without any reason behind his actions. Upon even further analysis of, The Man He Killed, the reader comes to the conclusion the “The Man” (in the title) that was killed was actually the same person who “He” killed; forever taking away this poor soldier’s personality and emotions. Similarly to The Man He Killed, O’Brien’s, “The Things They Carried” focuses on confusion within the platoon. After an eventful firefight, “they would touch their bodies, feeling shame, then quickly hiding it. They would force themselves to stand”(O’Brien, 355). O’Brien is telling us, the reader, that these soldiers are literally confused as to if they are in fact alive or dead. O’Brien continues on by stating, “Awkwardly, the men would reassemble themselves, first in private, then in groups, becoming soldiers again. They would repair the leaks in their eyes”(O’Brien, 355). Now the same soldiers, confused as to if they were still alive, are confused as to whom they actually are. A soldier is …show more content…
With the theme revolving around posttraumatic stress, we can see that it is not a coincidence that more than one writing depicting war focuses on this idea. Many soldiers away at war will deal with this pain wish to be home before they set out to defend their

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