war essay

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Strong, brave, and powerful are usually the words that come to mind when you think of a traditional war hero. In Tim O’Brien’s novel he uses war heroes that aren’t what people usually imagine when they think of a war hero. They are straight out of high school, and most of the soldiers in his novel are cowards. They are scared of going into the war and even when they have a chance to save one of their friends they just let them die. Not using traditional war heroes allowed Tim O’Brien to show that not all heroes are heroic and courageous, and that they were just normal people going into a war they didn’t understand. O’Brien does not use traditional war heroes so that the reader can understand the truth of how soldiers really felt in the war. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross felt a huge responsibility for the lives of the men that he led. After one of the soldiers named Ted Lavender was shot and killed Jim Cross said that “He felt shame. He hated himself. He had loved Martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war.” When Rat Kileys friend Curt Lemon died he felt so much grief for the death of his friend. Rat Kiley was so depressed that he punished an innocent baby buffalo, “He stepped back and shot it through the right front knee. The animal did not make a sound. It went down hard, then got up again, and Rat took careful aim and shot off an ear. He shot it in the hindquarters and in the little hump at its back. He shot it twice in the flanks. It wasn’t to kill; it was to hurt.” He punished the innocent buffalo because his emotions took control of him. Years after Tim O’Brien’s friend Kiowa died he felt that he had to revisi... ... middle of paper ... ...ter of live or die. I was in no real peril. Almost certainly the young man would have passed me by. And it will always be that way.” This soldier realized that maybe he was the enemy and the other soldier was the hero. Everyone has questions of morality and normal heroes would not show the questions of morality. Tim O’Brien wrote his novel with non-traditional war heroes to show many things about war that the reader did not know about. He did this to show the reader that not even soldiers are immune to emotions in the warzone. Also, to show that not everyone is fearless and heroic and people have fear inside of them. He also did this to show the controversy with the war in Vietnam. Not using traditional war heroes allowed Tim O’Brien to show that not all heroes are heroic and courageous, and that they were just normal people going into a war they didn’t understand.

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