Question 6

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Question 6

Post  Carol Fontaine on Wed May 04, 2011 6:15 pm

The use of profanity was, at first, a bit startling, but as the novel progressed it developed the realistic nature of the war. While to the reader it may seem crass, its presence depicts the author’s dedication to telling the story accurately. Profanity is often used in expression when the speaker is unconfident and trying to seem stronger than they actually are. When the soldiers use it in battle, it gives away how scared they truly are. These harsh words make superiors feel more intimidating to others, even though an analytical reader will take them to mean the complete opposite. When the narrator is talking to Jimmy Cross about the war in a past tense, he uses profanity as a sort of security blanket and comfort. It allows him to discuss painful memories or things that may be embarrassing but still feel in control. Overall, profanity provides the important roll of shading emotions characters don't want to openly express.

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Response to Carol

Post  Jenna Strobel on Wed May 04, 2011 7:58 pm

I agree, when I first read the profanity in the book I was a bit shocked but it did add to the reality of the story. In high stress situations profanity is often used and war is a perfect example of that. The profanity also gives the readers a sense of the soldier’s true personalities because some cussed more often than others. Going along with the idea that profanity was used as a security blanket, it seems as though the soldiers who were seen as the bravest and the most outgoing were actually the most insecure and scared because of their use of profanity. I feel that if there was no profanity the book, it would not have been O’Brien’s true memories of the war.

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Response to Carol

Post  AviHershkowitz on Wed May 04, 2011 10:05 pm

Although your assumptions of the use of profanity are very interesting, I am sadly going to have to disagree with them. I do not feel as if profanity is used as a "security blanket" for the men but i feel as if O'Brien is using it as to subtly describe the war. War is something that people look down upon and should not be commonly seen in society as well as profanity. Profanity is vulgar and explict as is war because people are being killed, blown up, and violently massacred all at the hand of other human beings. By excessively using profanity in his novel I believe O'Brien is trying to express his hatred for war and anything even remotely involved with it, besides for his fellow soldiers of course.

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Re: Question 6

Post  tia94 on Thu May 05, 2011 9:35 am


I agree with the two previous response, because I believe that the profanity the author incorporated into the story plays an important role to the understanding of it all. It brings the readers to a sense of a reality, and it's not some kind of joke to be a war, everything is dead on serious. The profanity is a way for the soldiers to express themselves, because since they are men they do not express their feelings through emotions written on their faces but rather through the words of what they speak. Everyone needs a way to express themselves, profanity or not, it's just another way of expression.

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