Things They Carried Essay Research Paper The — страница 2

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fulfilling his purpose in condemning violence. Even more drastic in connotation to be killed is the “orphaned puppy”(39). Adding to the present idea of killing babies is the idea of killing orphaned babies, which brings out rage within the reader. The whole concept is metaphoric, based on the connotations of key words; nevertheless, it is extremely effective in conveying O’Brien’s theme. O’Brien makes a valid, effective antiwar statement in The Things They Carried. The details he includes give the reader insight into his opinions concerning the Vietnam War and the draft that was used to accumulate soldiers for the war. While thinking of escaping to Canada, he says: “I was drafted to fight a war I hated. . .The American war seemed to me wrong”(44). O’Brien feels

that U.S. involvement in Vietnamese affairs was unnecessary and wasteful. He includes an account of his plan to leave the country because he did not want to risk losing his life for a cause he did not believe in. Here O’Brien shows the level of contempt felt towards the war; draft dodging is dangerous. He was not a radical antiwar enthusiast, however, for he takes “only a modest stand against the war”(44). While not condoning the fighting, he does not protest the war except for minimally, peacefully, and privately doing so. His dissatisfaction with the drafting process is included in his statement, “I was a liberal, for Christ’s sake: if they needed fresh bodies, why not draft some back-to-the-stone-age-hawk?”(44). O’Brien’s point of drafting only those who

approve involvement in the war is clearly made while his political standpoint is simultaneously revealed. The liberal attitude O’Brien owns is very much a part of his antiwar theme; it is the axis around which his values concerning the war revolve. The antiwar statement is enhanced by O’Brien’s use of connotative and informal diction to describe the war, its belligerent advocates, and its participants. The connotation in the adjective American in describing the war seems as though O’Brien believes the Americans are making the war revolve around themselves, instead of the Vietnamese. While also criticizing Americans, he manages to once again question the necessity of United States involvement in the war. Also connotatively enhancing the antiwar theme is the word bodies to

describe draftees; while an accurate evaluation scientifically, it gives the reader the impression that the young men that are being brought into the war to become statistics, part of a body count. O’Brien shows very effectively the massive destruction of innocent human life brought on by Vietnam. In contrast with his sympathy toward draftees, O’Brien utilizes informal, derogatory diction to describe the war’s advocates. He labels his stereotype belligerent a “dumb jingo”(44), or moronic national pride enthusiast. By phrasing his views in such a manner, O’Brien is able to convey the idea that there is enough opposition to the war that a negative slang has been implemented frequently, hence the term dumb jingo. The skill with which O’Brien illustrates his views is

very convincing throughout their development in the novel; his antibelligerence focus is very effective. The social deviance that has become the accepted norm in The Things They Carried is brought out by O’Brien in the form of the soldiers’ drug usage. O’Brien wants to convey the idea of negative transitions brought about by the war with a statement about marijuana’s public, widespread, carefree use in Vietnam. He includes several anecdotes that illustrate to which degree the substance is abused. A friend of O’Brien’s, Ted Lavender, “carried six or seven ounces of premium dope”(4), which indicates not only the soldiers’ familiarity with the drug, but their acquired knowledge of the quality of the drug. The discouragement of marijuana, as well as other drugs, was

previously the accepted view of Americans; however, according to O’Brien, is has become the norm for Americans in Vietnam. The war has completely reversed their morals. Once they carried a corpse out to “a dry paddy. . .and sat smoking the dead man’s dope until the chopper came. Lieutenant Cross kept to himself”(8). Even the squad’s supervisor, the platoon leader Lieutenant Cross, is unaffected by the soldiers’ blatant use of an illegal substance; he has become so used to the occurrence that he no longer condemns its use. For even a leader of men to be morally warped by the war is an effective idea in O’Brien’s discouragement of war. As George Carlin once said to a New York audience, “We love war. We are a warlike people, and therefore we love war”(Carlin