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Man I Killed Essay

975 words - 4 pages

O’ Brien in the chapter “The Man I Killed” describes a Viet Cong soldier whom he has killed, using meticulous physical details, including description of his wounds Then O’Brien imagines the life story of this man and imagines that he was a scholar who felt an obligation to defend his village. The central theme of this vignette is time .O’Brien the soldiers is frozen in a moment in time ,recalling the entire history of the dead Vietnamese man while the American troop of soldiers are all moving forward, preparing for another day at war. The one word that best describes the mood of this vignette is shock. "O'Brien" is in shock from killing the man, and the rest of the world is moving around him, all in speech and imagination. Tim O ‘Brien is able to convey the reality of what it means to kill a man in wartime through his highly personalized and detailed account of one man’s death .
O’Brien was and Kiowa was taking turns in the lookout for dangers of the enemy soldiers. O’Brien was watching while Kiowa was sleeping it was then he saw the Viet Cong soldier and he thinks that he was approaching him through the morning fog. As soon as he was the figure moving through the fog he had thrown the grenade in the purpose of scaring him away but the grenade exploded and killed the soldier. He recalls it being terrified, and that his action was automatic, not political and not personal. He believes, too, that if he had not thrown the grenade, the Vietnamese soldier would have passed by without incident. Azar sees only a fallen enemy and compliments O'Brien on a thorough job he cannot understand what O'Brien is feeling. Kiowa is more sympathetic, offering textbook comments, such as switching places with the dead man and that he would have been killed anyway, in order to console "O'Brien" whom he believes regrets his action. The fact is that O'Brien never expresses what he is feeling joy, regret, pain, confusion, or any specific emotion. He never says a word throughout the story. His shock is all that we can really know, expressed through his silence.
O’Brien describes the wounds that he inflicted. He says that “The man’s jaw was in his throat,” [and] “his upper lip and teeth were missing” by the explosion of the grenade, this shows us how much damage it had caused to the soldier. Obrien also says that the soldier’s one eye was shut, and the other looked like “a star-shaped hole” the star he refers might symbolize hope, like a wishing star, but O'Brien has inverted its meaning by tying it in with death. O’Brien explains the soldier to be “slim, young, [and] dainty man,” with “sunken chest” [and] delicate fingers, which clearly emphasis that he did not have any muscular strength to be a...

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