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"Ambush" by Tim O' Brien
Transcript of "Ambush" by Tim O' Brien
Setting and Characters
My Khe, Vietnam
: We all make mistakes that we later regret, but that's life. We need to focus more on just accepting to live with it.
: Living with regret.
"Ambush" Literary Analysis
October 31st, 2013
"Ambush" by Tim O' Brien
Tim O' Brien, a soldier affected by the Vietnam War, reflects on his experiences when his daughter asks him if he has ever taken a life. He doesn't want to tell her truth just yet.
Man vs. Self
After he killed the soldier Tim stated,"Even now I haven't finished sorting it out. Sometimes I forgive myself, other times I don't"(2). He shouldn't put a weight on his self for it. He just needs to learn to live with it.
Fog symbolizes unclear vision or a prelude to an important decision. "The night was foggy and hot. For the first few moments I felt lost, not sure about directions, groping my helmet and weapon"(1). O'Brien uses fog to symbolize his state of confusion at the moment.
O'Brien closely describes the moments before his life changing decision. "I tried to swallow whatever was rising from my stomach, which tasted like lemonade, something fruity and sour. I was terrified"(2). He remembers this moment like it was yesterday.
Right before he makes his decision he said, "I did not hate the young man; I did not see him as the enemy; I did not ponder issues of morality or politics or military duty"(2). O'Brien uses parallelism to emphasize that he wasn't thinking at the moment.
The mood is very serious and very hostile. There is no margin for errors. "He told me that is was a good kill, that I was a soldier and this is a war, that I should shape up and stop staring and ask myself what the dead man would've done if things were reversed"(2). You have to a cavalier when at war and you cant think about things too much.
I think the message in this story is similar to life. We all have regrets, but we need accept them and live on. For example, O' Brien stated, "In the ordinary hours I try not to dwell on it."(2).
Don't think about things too much. Life goes on, even with mistakes.
Tim O' Brien
Kathleen Asks about war
Guarding and keeping watch
State of confusion
Decision to throw the grenade
Effect on the Vietnamese Soilder
Reflection of the moment