Question 6

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Question 6

Post  KatyFernandez on Wed May 04, 2011 9:28 pm

The use of profanity, vulgar though as much a part of reality as people themselves, serves many purposes in O’Brien’s retelling of his Vietnam experience. The men were soldiers, thrown into a foreign world full of people who want them dead, the survival tactics they had to adapt and the hard outer shell they all had to put on was all a part of their constant use of profanity. It was a sort of disguise for the men; when they were feeling weak and scared, they threw around vulgar words that make men look stronger and bigger than they actually are. When a painful event takes place or the men are physically or emotionally wounded, you’ll notice they always turn to yelling profanity because it seems to give them some solace and confidence. In tough situations full of stress and anxiety, real life reactions would be to curse uncontrollably from shock and fear; O’Brien only portrays the soldiers exactly how they were with no filter in his book, giving the reader a first hand look at the men.

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response to Katy.

Post  devonfelts on Wed May 04, 2011 10:55 pm

i agree that the use of vulgar language acts as a sort of facade for the men who want to appear tough. They are thrown into a terrifying situation, and want to appear stronger than they actually are in front of the other men. They are also trying to block themselves from the pain of their comrades dying. Profanity it used by the men as a security blankeyy.

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Re: Question 6

Post  Emerie Pettit on Wed May 04, 2011 11:05 pm

I agree with both of these posts. You're definitely right when you said that when men feel weak or vulnerable, they will do whatever they think makes them look tough. In this case, their constant use of profanity. I think the author wanted us to understand some of the feelings the men were having like vulnerability, frustration and anger.

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Post  autuboobaby on Wed May 04, 2011 11:14 pm

I agree with the above remarks about the use of profanity in this novel. The overall method of presentation of this story incorporated many different outlooks on the things the soldiers carried, dealt with, and were forced to adapt to.The strong historical content in "The Things They Carried" helped emphasize the focus of the story and establish a clearer understanding of details in the narrative and moods of the war itself. From this, we are able to draw conclusions and assumptions to the events as it relates to the Vietnam war.Three areas that "The Things They Carried" established and elaborated were the youthfulness of the Vietnam soldiers, their language and thought patterns, and the actual tangible and intangible things they carried.


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Post  colerockwell on Thu May 05, 2011 12:15 am

I also believe the use of profanity was crucial to the book's realistic value. Soldiers are notorious for foul language. In fact TTTC may have been somewhat lacking profanity. Obviously there can not be an F bomb every other sentence but in situations as intense as the ones faced in O'Brien's novel, it seems likely there would have been a swear word or two more. Soldiers are known to openly use racial slurs and the like generously, and a book depicting stories of one of the most terrifying wars would not seem realistic without the less pleasant but equally importsnt details.

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Post  SandraJozic on Thu May 05, 2011 1:04 am

Agreed. The use of profane language served the purpose of making an impression amongst their comrades, while doing that it was also a way to relieve all their tensions and a way to get their anger out. The profanity also represented the soldiers personalities and their own perspectives on the war. They all wanted to seem tough on the outside but inside they were all feeling on mutual thing, and that is feeling the opposite of what they are portraying themselves to be, these "tough, strong men". Inside their feelings were still raw and emotions were triggered by even the slightest thing. For instance, to back this up, on page 22, they talk about other men while using profanity to describe them and the actions which they are pursuing, talking about how these men bail out because they do not have enough courage, they would do things such as blow off their own toes just to get out of there. "It was fierce, mocking talk, with only a trace of envy or awe, but even so the image played itself out behind their eyes." Their outer shell was tough and meant to preserve the soldier impression but the inner shell was the exact opposite of how a soldier tends to be portrayed in most situations.

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