What techniques does O'Brien use in Things They Carried to show verisimilitude?  

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In the title chapter of The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien uses repetition and polysyndeton (repetitious use of conjuctions) as rhetorical techniques to develop verisimilitude in the story.  As O'Brien as the narrator describes the items that the men carry, he begins each section with a similar phrase:  "The things they carried were. . . ."  The phrase varies slightly in each section, but is relatively the same.  Then O'Brien strings together items using the repetition of the word "and":  "Rat Kiley carried a canvas satchel filled with morphine and plasma and malaria tablets and surgical tape. . . ."  The use of repetition alters the tone of the story, making the reader feel the weight of the items that the soldiers have to carry for their survival.