Why is the first story, "The Things They Carried," written in third person? How does this serve to introduce the rest of the novel? What effect did it have on your experience of the novel so far when O'Brien switched to first person, and you realized the narrator was one of the soldiers?
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The third person narration in the first chapter allows us to gain insight into the thoughts and actions of Jimmy Cross. The people O'Brien describes become more like actors in a movie than real soldiers experiencing the realities of war. In this chapter, we are introduced to the characters, exposed to the images and language of the men, and apprised of the things they do to cope with their situation. Narrating in the third-person gives O'Brien the ability to make these introductions and help us to understand Cross' feelings and emotions.
The Things They Carried