Comparison of the writing tactics used in "The Things They Carried" by Tim O' Brien and "Dien Cai Dau" by Yusef Komunyakaa

Essay by rdsox41College, UndergraduateA, November 2007

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The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien and Dien Cai Dau by Yusef Komunyakaa, are two reading selections that recall different memories and emotions from the Vietnam War. O'Brien's recollection of the war is in the form of a novel that is comprised of a selection of short stories that relate to war experiences. Komunyakaa wrote a collection of poems, which each work in their own unique way to allow the reader to extract the true feelings and experiences that were part of the life for a Vietnam soldier. As it turns out, there are numerous themes that connect these two reading selections, which coalesce together to present the reader with as close to a real-life experience as words can provide. The strongest uniting theme that I was able to pull from the sources, and more specifically from the selected readings, was the mental anguish and pressure that constantly burdened the soldiers.

This to me is the most compelling element that pulls the readings together and makes me feel like they are all worth a second look.

In the first selection for reading, "On the Rainy River," O'Brien uses the first couple sentences to try to begin to prepare the reader for an emotional story. "This is one story I've never told before. Not to anyone. Not to my parents, not to my brother or sister, not even to my wife." This is where he begins to tell the story about what happened when the draft letter came in the mail. Even before the reader gets any details about the upcoming events in the story, it is clearly expressed through his initial statement that what is to come is an extreme mental burden for O'Brien. Usually, if a person keeps information hidden inside from everyone that they know, there...