Monday, March 7, 2011

Syntax For The Things They Carried

.   “They were not love letters, but Lieutenant Cross was hoping, so he kept them folded in plastic at the bottom on his rucksack. In the late afternoon, after a day’s march, he would dig his foxhole, wash his hands under a canteen, unwrap the letters, hold them with the tips of his fingers, and spend the last hour of light pretending” (1).
O’Brian takes syntax to a whole new level in this paragraph in order to express Lieutenants obsession with his “lover.” He combines many different actions into one single sentence and it shows how infatuated he is with her. He is not capable of focusing on anything else but her and it creates a passionate, yet frantic mood. This all relates to O’Brian’s purpose to illustrate Lieutenant Cross’s character and to give the reader a better understanding of his character’s background.    
.   “The whole country—the dirt, the death—I just want to swallow it and have it there inside me. That’s how I feel. It’s like the appetite. I get scared sometime—lots of times—but its not bad” (106).
In this paragraph, O’Brian uses interrupted order and telegraphic sentence structure in order to show the purpose of writings. Marry Anne is trying to express her feelings and by using interrupted order, it shows her frantically trying to figure out a way to say what she is feeling. This creates a frantic and overwrought mood. The telepathic sentences show how meaningful and intimate the conversation is. This influences the style of the piece in that it shows the author’s attitude toward its subject and creates a connection between the author and his story.   


  1. You did a very good job with this assignment. You found a lot of syntax in this book. Your analyzation of the quote about the Lieutenant's lover is very good, and it shows that you have a very good understanding of syntax.