1. The story that meant the most to me so far is the story of “The Man I Killed”. The reason this story meant the most to me is because it shows that humanity still exists – even in war. An example from the story “The Man I Killed” is when Tim is staring at the lifeless body of the young man he had just killed, and he couldn’t stop thinking about who the young man could have been, “He had been born, maybe, in 1946 in the village of My Khe near the central coastline of Quang Ngai Province, where his parents farmed, and where his family had lived for centuries… He was not a communist; he was a citizen and soldier… He was not a fighter; his health was poor, his body small and frail. He liked books [and] he wanted someday to be a teacher of mathematics” (O’Brien, 119). What I see in this story as I mentioned above, and shown throughout the entire chapter of “The Man I Killed”, is that throughout many wars men have dehumanized their enemy in order to make the killing easier, more justified, but here in this story it shows that though Tim is in war he is creating a story about a man he killed as if to say that he recognizes the value of the life that he took.
2. In all honesty, I cannot say that I can relate to any of the characters in the novel, purely because I have never been in their specific situations within a brutal war. I can only truly say that I find some of the men honorable; such as Tim for not dehumanizing the enemy, but instead carrying the burden and understanding the sadness of the life he took.
3. One type of narrative convention found throughout the novel is the author’s use of metaphors. An example of a metaphor that I found to be a powerful use of word comparison is, “ Vietnam had the effect of a powerful drug: that mix of unnamed terror and unnamed pleasure that comes as the needle slips in and you know you’re risking something” (O’Brien, 109). This metaphor stood out to me because the author, in using this metaphor, is asking the reader to think about what war is really like, and offering an example that he would use to compare and explain what he felt war is truly like.
4. One passage that I marked in my reading was towards the beginning of the book. “It was a simple pebble, an ounce at most. Smooth to the touch, it was a milky white color with flecks of orange and violet, oval-shaped, like a miniature egg… It was the separate but together quality that had inspired her to pick up the pebble… through hot days of early April, he carried the pebble in his mouth, turning it with his tongue, tasting sea salt and moisture” (O’Brien, 7-8). I loved this quote because it evokes the powerful emotions of love, and sadness that Lieutenant Cross was carrying inside of himself, within the reader, and shows the sentimental and emotional value and complexity of an object as small and as simple as a pebble.