paper 2 - Drew Langton Page 1 of 5 Silence Says a Lot The...

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Drew Langton Page 1 of 5 Silence Says a Lot The killing of the baby buffalo in “How to Tell a True War Story”- The effects of trauma on survivors of torture or ex-soldiers. Tim O’Brien uses the themes of silence and neglect in The Things They Carried to allow for a transformation of Rat Kiley’s character and strong contrast leading to a shock effect on the reader. When Rat Kiley doesn’t get a response letter back from Curt Lemon’s sister, he is very upset and confused. He poured his heart out into a great letter explaining Lemon’s death and how he led a good life, and all Kiley wanted in return was a response. But he did not get one. Her silence angers Kiley more than anything in the world. The idea of silence is crucial to this part of the story because O’Brien distracts the reader’s attention away from Kiley on purpose to tell a story that develops the idea of silence and how it can effect a person after a traumatic experience. When Curt Lemon dies, O’Brien goes into great detail about his death and how Kiley was very upset about it. He talks about how Kiley writes this beautiful, emotional letter to Lemon’s sister. Then he talks about how much more angry Kiley gets when Lemon’s sister doesn’t respond after two months. “Jesus Christ, man, I write this beautiful fuckin’ letter, I slave over it, and what happens? The dumb cooze never writes back,” (P. 66). This is a good representation of how upset and livid Kiley gets about the silence of Lemon’s sister. The silence of Lemon’s sister was the beginning of Kiley’s transformation from sanity to insanity. He chooses to use the word “cooze,” not “bitch,” because O’Brien wants to portray the idea that using the word “bitch” wouldn’t do justice to Kiley’s emotions about the situation. O’Brien also hints at some derogatory sarcasm
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Drew Langton Page 2 of 5 in this quote, as if Kiley expected this type of reaction from a “dumb cooze.” At this point, O’Brien then cuts off on a tangent, telling a war story about silence. The main idea of the story is how too much silence can drive a man crazy, and how it can make a man
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This note was uploaded on 10/06/2011 for the course IAH 207 taught by Professor Johns during the Spring '08 term at Michigan State University.

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paper 2 - Drew Langton Page 1 of 5 Silence Says a Lot The...

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