The Man I Killed

The Man I Killed - The Man I Killed "The Man I Killed" can...

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The Man I Killed “The Man I Killed” can be read as a universal war story. It could really be any soldier’s story about how he killed a man. The details and emotions would probably be very similar because many men felt the same way about being in the war. They will always be able to remember seeing the other soldier that they killed; it would be such a traumatic experience for anyone to deal with. When an event like that happens, you are able to remember everything. Everything you were feeling, everything you saw, everything you smelled. O’Brien did not only describe what he saw. He also described the supposed life of the soldier he killed. It wasn’t the Vietnamese soldier’s actual life, but it was how O’Brien imagined it would’ve been. The first part of description in “The Man I Killed” is about everything that is physically there. He describes the dead man, the surroundings and other soldiers in his platoon. Tim O’Brien starts out by describing what he saw first. He described what the dead man looked like with all of his wounds and injuries. “His jaw was in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, his one eye was shut, his other eye was a star-shaped hole” (O’Brien, 139) He also had this description of the fatal wound that was the cause of the man’s death, “his neck was open to the spinal cord and the blood there was thick and shiny and it was this wound that had killed him.” (O’Brien, 139) O’Brien then went on to described what the Vietnamese soldier 49
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physically looked like. He didn’t just look at the wounds; he also looked at the person, only as a person, and not as an enemy. “his eyebrows were thin and arched like a woman’s, his nose was undamaged, there was a slight tear at the love of one ear, his clean black hair was swept upward into a cowlick at the rear of the skull, his forehead was lightly freckled, his fingernails were clean, the skin at his left cheek was smooth and hairless” (O’Brien, 139) O’Brien really seemed to examine the soldier’s face. He wanted to get a feel of who he killed.
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course ENGL 111 taught by Professor Mcguire during the Fall '07 term at St. Thomas.

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The Man I Killed - The Man I Killed "The Man I Killed" can...

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