Response to Question #6

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Response to Question #6

Post  Connor Leardini on Wed May 04, 2011 11:43 pm

In my opinion, the use of vulgarity was yet another mean of presenting humanistic qualities to the soldiers. If war is consistently looked down upon, and viewed as the governments harsh regimen on keeping the world "in order", the people that enforce this are going to be viewed as mere tools. O' Brien presents a vibrant cast of characters that are not holding back their opinions or statements regarding their position in the war. The vocabulary may be crude, but it is definitely realistic, in the sense that many real people that took part in wars were using vulgarity to relieve stress, and essentially be themselves around their comrades. The vulgarity also adds to harshness of the setting of the novel, for it puts the relationships of the soldiers and cruel environment in perspective to the reader, further accentuating the sense of realism within the story and its audience.

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Re: Response to Question #6

Post  Richard yacobellis on Thu May 05, 2011 1:20 am

Your observation is very insightful and uses strong logic, which makes it the perfect target for me to manipulate and offer counding variables to. It is true that the vulgarity both makes the characters seem more human to us and adds to to harsh reality of their situation. However, there is another use for the books present vulagarity, one that you lightly brushed on, yet did not develop. Being that language is a social commentary, it follows that coarse language has a similar function. The unit described in the book is comprised of people of varying personaliies and social groups, all of them being between or near the ages of 18 and 16. They are representative of their generation and are thus also of its mindset. Their generation was forced into a war that went against many of their beliefs and lifstyles. Since they have passed the times when profanity was thrown around with little to meaning, every seemingly trivial carries meaning a reveals tension that is viewed as shameful by them. This tension results from the conflict between the generation's conscience and its sense of duty. So, the authors use of profanity is used, in addition to your points, as an indicator of the overall viewpoint of the involved generation.

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Re: Response to Question #6

Post  KyleGibb on Thu May 05, 2011 1:27 am

I completely agree with the fact that the use of vulgarity really humanizes the whole situation. If everything in this book was sugar coated and written in a light manner, it would simply be a lie. The way everything is implemented, from the marijuana smoking to the use of harsh curse words, adds to the the underlying theme that this book really is a true story and includes real recollections, as O'Brien recalls, of the Vietnam War. I agree with both of you when you say that the mature themes covered in this book were an intricate part of the plot and without them, would have limited the historical accuracy of the book in general.

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Re: Response to Question #6

Post  RyanHarring on Thu May 05, 2011 2:49 am

To keep it short and sweet:

Connor: The assertion that the use of language was a way to add color to the unit to rebut the idea that soldiers are not just tools was beautiful, though do me a favor next time and just come out and say it instead of making me read in between the lines to understand your point.

Richard: Please proof read, you are missing a couple words(or misplaced/misspelled them), and have skewed the whole meaning of the third to last sentence. I like the idea that the profanity was in part used to showcase the controversy over the war, but at the same time, it's a jump to take it as far as you did. While it is not necessarily wrong, you are making it out to be more than it actually is, yes, they did not agree with the war, but young people, and soldiers cuss, making the jump between that, and the idea that every time they curse it "reveals tension that is viewed as shameful by them," is a stretch, and, to use my favorite word, debatable.

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