author spends most of his or her time describing actions and events to the reader, trying to really put the reader
implements his literary art form.
omniscient. The narrator is not actually in the story, merely telling us of the events, and yet we still get to see inside
personal thoughts of Cross, always refers to the Lieutenant as either “he,”, “him,” or “Lt. Cross,” never speaking of
him by only his first name, which seems rather formal. Also, it is odd that O?Brien should choose the third person to
character is feeling, they will write the story in the first person point of view, to give the events and thoughts a more
personal touch. However, the way O?Brien phrases his sentences, it is really very simple for the reader to get that
accurate feeling for the main character, even!
Cross. The reader can easily see the man, crouching in the bottom of a muddy hole, burning photographs while
thinking of a terrible blame he felt was his: it is a sad scene to picture.
minor details rather than on events. In the story, O?Brien skips the burning of a village in just a simple remark that
makes it almost feel like an afterthought. (”Afterward they burned Than Khe.” Hansen, 427) But, he spends almost
them as they trek through this strange foreign land. At the bottom of the eleventh page O?Brien mentions this
intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity!
, they had tangible weight.” (Hansen, 434-435) He then goes on for another half of a page describing other
effect it has on all parties involved, including the soldiers out there usually fighting battles that they would rather not
home. The story may drift to some of the other men, or speak of the weapons and equipment they all carry, but it
vowing to never think of her again.
Part II: My story modeled after O?Brien?s
A Day at the Market
she pushed the cart with the baby along. Of all the things she had to do that day, this was one of the least favorite of
hers on the list. Plus, there was too much paperwork to be dealing with back at the house for her to be concentrating
couple of days: she didn?t think she could put up with the entirety of this trip.
and it seemed that he felt it his duty to consistently tease his sister. Laura was ten and had long brown hair that
even though Billy sometimes got in the way of this. Jenny, sitting in the carrier of the shopping cart, was two years
old and simply gurgled consistently, smiling to herself and drooling on her bib, her fine flaming red hair sticking in
almost all directions as her head looked around for some activity that interested her.
the specific reasons for the separation. Was it her fault? Was she too harsh in her judgments of him? Maybe if she
didn?t yell every time he left the toilet seat up? . . .
She shook her head suddenly, finding herself standing in Aisle 4 of the local Stop & Shop, Billy and Laura running
back and forth around the cart as Billy tried to pull on Laura?s hair. She stopped them, and got them down to
business; Every trip to the supermarket was a task of assignments. She would give parts of the grocery list to the
kids to give them something to do besides walk around, following her and generally just getting in the way. Billy
and Laura would always make sure to get the items that were assigned to them that were the healthiest and had the
lowest unit prices. They were smart children, and their mother had been “training” them for a long time. It then
Mrs. Cooper gave each of them a list: 1 gallon of 1% milk, 2 boxes of breakfast cereal (although these had to be of
certain kinds), 3 cans of chicken noodle soup, and 1 box of crackers. That would keep them busy comparing in all
the departments to give her some quiet time so she could think about what she was going to do during the
separation, since she got stuck with the three children and Dan went to Florida to visit his mother. She thought,
sometimes he could be such a big baby. Just before he left he had said that she acted like a child a lot. Then he ran
the juice and cookie aisle.
Meanwhile Billy and Laura were deep in the middle of competition. Billy scanned across all of the milk containers
on the bottom 4 selves, since that was all he could reach, looking for the smallest unit price of the 1% kind; $2.19,
$2.15, $2.29. They were all so close to each other, yet all slightly different. Laura was searching the crackers. Ritz,
find the label? Laura thought, her thoughts deep on the fact of defeating her younger brother. She looked at the
Town House crackers, 120 mg of sodium, and then looked for the label of the Ritz. She had to win!
Tim O?Brien in “The Things They Carried.” I tried to begin as O?Brien did, introducing the reader immediately to
the main character. This character is a person of authority, with much on their mind besides their duties. Lt. Cross
thinks of Martha, and Mrs. Cooper thinks of her husband.
Again, this story is written in the third person, limited omniscient point of view, the omniscience being into Mrs.
Cooper?s mind. The part where she thinks about her husband leaving is one example. “She thought, sometimes he
could be such a big baby. Just before he left he had said that she acted like a child a lot. Then he ran home to his
mommy, she thought sarcastically. . .” (Fifth paragraph)
after. If the story had unraveled more, a deeper meaning about these intricate statistics would have been revealed, as
it did in O?Brien?s story.
A last point I tried to copy was the recursive nature of the story drifting back to one point. Since Lt. Cross kept
thinking about Martha, I wrote “A Day at the Market” to keep coming back to Melissa Cooper thinking about Dan
Overall, it was a difficult challenge to imitate O?Brien?s story. It involved a lot of rereading, revision, and looking
very closely at what was written. However, I feel that I did a fairly good job, and also somewhat enjoyed the
challenge. Maybe when I need something to do someday I will finish the story. . . maybe.