Why does Tim O'Brien use acronyms like SOP, RTO, and KIA in "The Things They Carried"?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Vietnam War was a televised war. We watched it take place daily on the evening news. We were regularly given the number of men who were "KIA" (killed in action) and other statistics regarding the war. We were familiar with the acronyms and desensitized to war because of our familiarity with the war as a whole. Tim O'Brien, the author, uses realism to describe the war and the men who fight in the war. O'Brien has said in a number of interviews that his book is fiction, but his style of realism "favors confronting the realities in life instead of escaping or idealizing them." (eNotes-Style) By using the acronyms, he realistically portrays the war, using the language of the people involved.

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The Things They Carried

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