ENG 125 Final Paper - Authors and writers of stories or...

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Authors and writers of stories or poetry often use different literary elements to draw in the reader to the meaning behind their work. Written literature can be to tell a story, describe an event, emotion, or basically anything a person can come with using their imagination. When comparing and contrasting two different types of work, it forces the reader to pay more attention to detail and the literary elements used. (Smith, 1990). In both pieces of work theme, imagery, and symbolism are three devices used that make “The Things They Carried” and “Do Not Go into That Good Gentle Night” the same yet different. The theme is an important literary device used in “The Things They Carried”. It is essential to having to concept and meaning of the story absorbed by the reader. In Tim O’Brien’s short story, the theme revolves around death and morality. The theme is obvious when O’Brien describes the missions, ambushes, and the overall moral that surrounded his men. Death and morality were with them at all times during their tour in Vietnam. The men would think about the promises they made to their families back home, “to themselves and to God” hoping not to die. (O’Brien, 1990). The theme is essential to having the idea and message of the story absorbed by the reader. The importance of the theme behind “The Things They Carried” was to describe to the physical and emotional burdens the men carried. Some argue that the theme behind the story is focused solely on warfare. Patrick Hicks argued that the “theme is far beyond just warfare and that it penetrates deeply into the mysteries of the human experience”. (Hicks, 2005). O’Brien’s reason for using death and morality as the theme was not to justify or criticize the war, but to describe events that took place during war. His motivation was to give the reader an understanding of what the men went through, their physical, emotional burdens, experiences, and hardships. “They marched for the sake of the march.” (O’Brien, 1990). In the story, O’Brien describes was as hell. It is terrify, mysterious, new discovery of faith, and despair. (O’Brien, 1990). “War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead.” (O’Brien, 1990). When O’Brien compared war to hell and the unimaginable turmoil that surrounds the war, it shows the motivation for using death and morality for the theme. Imagery is an important literary device in “The Things They Carried” (1990). Imagery allows the reader to imagine the story as they are reading it and relate to the story. Without this important literary device, the meaning behind the story can get lost, misinterpreted, and unreliable. It also represents an idea in which the reader can experience the story through their

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