Chapter 12, The Man I Killed Notes from The Things They Carried

Tim O'Brien
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The Things They Carried Chapter 12, The Man I Killed

A dead man lies in the center of a footpath. His face and body are elegant, almost feminine, and his face is blown apart. Tim thinks he might have been a scholar--he doesn't look cut out for war. Tim imagines the man's life story: he would never have questioned his duty to fight, but he would have been afraid, unprepared for combat. Azar tells Tim, "Oh man, you fuckin' trashed the fucker. You scrambled his sorry self, look at that, you did, you laid him out like fuckin' Shredded Wheat." Chapter 12, pg. 125 Kiowa pushes Azar away. He tries to comfort Tim, telling him he only did what he had to, and begging him to stop staring at the dead man. Tim continues to imagine what the dead man's life was like: did he get made fun of at school for being weak? He won't speak to Kiowa, who tries to help him but gets more and more disturbed and frustrated. Kiowa leaves and returns, telling Tim he's looking better, but Tim still won't speak. He just sits staring at the man he killed.

Topic Tracking: Bravery 5

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