In The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, how does Kiowa feel about Lavender's death?

In The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, Kiowa feels bad about Lavender's death. But when he recounts the events of Lavender's death, Kiowa gives the other soldiers a remarkably detached account of what happened as if he had no personal connection to the deceased. In referring to Lavender's death this way, Kiowa is emotionally separating himself from the chaos and horror of war.

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Kiowa is undoubtedly sad at the death of Ted Lavender. But he expresses his emotions differently from that of the rest of the platoon. As well as sighing and shaking his head, he recounts the tale of his friend's demise in a noticeably detached manner, giving an almost scientific description of what happened:

He was dead weight. There was no twitching or flopping. Kiowa, who saw it happen, said it was like watching a rock fall, or a big sandbag or something—just boom, then down—not like the movies where the dead guy rolls around and does fancy spins and goes ass over teakettle—not like that, Kiowa said, the poor bastard just flat-f*** fell. Boom. Down. Nothing else.

Although Kiowa says that Lavender's death wasn't like anything you'd see in the movies, his own description of that death seems remarkably cinematic, none the less. It's almost as if he's relating a particularly exciting scene he's just watched in a movie.

That's not to say there's anything callous or tasteless about...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 879 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 13, 2020