It was not possible for any soldier to carry many items or burdens with them, but if something was a necessity, a way was found to carry it, and coping mechanisms were a necessity to survive the war....
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Jimmy Cross in Tim O'Brien's Story "The Things They Carried" One of the most overlooked aspects in the life of a soldier is the weight of the things they carry.
Connections is Connecticut College's reinvention of liberal arts educationâa new kind of curriculum that lets you integrate your interests into a meaningful educational pathway to carry you through college and into a fulfilling, effective career and life.
Read Mark Twain's little piece (below) about the troubles he has with his new watch, as another example of narrative writing. (There is very little in the way of paragraphing in this narrative, and as you read along you might want to think about how you would break this piece into smaller units of thought for your reader.) Answer the questions we pose after Twain's essay and apply them as well to Jeffrey Tayler's essay above.
My uncle William (now deceased, alas!) used tosay that a good horse was a good horse until it hadrun away once, and that a good watch was a goodwatch until the repairers got a chance at it. And heused to wonder what became of all the unsuccessfultinkers, and gunsmiths, and shoemakers, and engineers, and blacksmiths; but nobody could ever tell him.
Men died in Vietnam, by the way, out of the same fear-you know, not out of nobility or patriotism; they were just af-they charged bunkers and machine gun nests, just because they would be embarrassed not to, later on, in front of their buddies.
Let nouns and verbs do the work of description for you. With nouns, your readers will see; with verbs, they will feel. In the following paragraph, taken from George Orwell's famous anti-imperialist essay, "Shooting an Elephant," see how the act of shooting the elephant delivers immense emotional impact. What adjectives would you expect to find in a paragraph about an elephant? big? grey? loud? enormous? Do you find them here? Watch the verbs, instead. Notice, too, another truth about description: when time is fleeting, slow down the prose. See how long the few seconds of the shooting can take in this paragraph. You can read the entire text of George Orwell's story by clicking , and you can read additional essays by this famous author of and at
Even if I don't carry around physical "things" like the soldiers in the story, I carry around the thoughts and images of my past and of the opinions and judgments of my future.
The ability to describe something convincingly will serve a writer well in any kind of essay situation. The most important thing to remember is that your job as writer is to show, not tell. If you say that the tree is beautiful, your readers are put on the defensive: "Wait a minute," they think. "We'll be the judge of that! Show us a beautiful tree and we'll believe." Do not rely, then, on adjectives that attempt to characterize a thing's attributes. these are all useful adjectives in casual speech or when we're pointing to something that is lovely, etc., but in careful writing they don't do much for us; in fact, they sound hollow.
The different pieces each carry will remind them of home “Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha…Mitchell Sanders carried condoms…Kiowa…carried an illustrated New Testament…” (Tim O’Brien The Things They Carried pg.