The Man I Killed

Topics: EducationHigh School

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Last updated: April 7, 2019

War has been a part of American lives since the beginning of time. Kids are brought up with the thought that they might be sent off to fight for their country. It has become such a serious part of our lives that there are actually required courses for students going through high school that often spend an entire semester teaching the kids of our country’s history of war.

Soldiers at war have become immune to the killing and suffering that goes along with it.They can take another life with ease, without a single thought about the other person or the life that person had. It’s become nothing more than a video game to these soldiers. Taking a life is as easy as pushing a button and moving on to the next. The cultural expectations that the four characters in the text are responding to are that war and killing is a way of life.

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The first time I noticed a character responding to these expectations was in the first paragraph when Tim is describing the dead soldier’s body.He goes into great detail about the dead body that he killed. He talks about the physical appearance of the body, describing what he saw of the victim and the damage he caused when killing him. Then he sat down and started to think about the victim and what kind of person he was and how he had been brought up. Tim responded to the expectations differently than most soldiers would have.

Instead of killing the man and moving on without thinking, he stopped and thought about the life he took and started to feel bad for taking it.He realized that the man he killed wasn’t even a communist and didn’t even really want to go to war in the first place. He later went on to go into further detail by relating the characteristics of the dead body to the way he grew up and how he wanted to live his life. Again stopping to think of what he did which made him feel even worse about taking the soldiers’ life. The next two characters didn’t respond the same way as Tim did.

Kiowa and Azar responded the way that most soldiers would have.Azar wasn’t bothered by the dead body in any way and even made fun at it, saying he laid the man out like shredded wheat. By him saying this it is clear that he didn’t care about the dead man lying by him and wanted to move on. Kiowa also responded the same way, but didn’t make fun at the body like Azar.

He stayed by Tim while he was thinking about the dead soldier trying to convince him that it wasn’t his fault for killing the man and it was ok that he did.He was trying to say that the dead man was just like everyone else because he was carrying a gun just like everyone else. Both Azar and Kiowa responded like the typical soldier. They wanted to forget about what happened and move on so that they could find someone else to kill. The dead soldier also plays a part in these cultural expectations.

He was a very smart man and didn’t even want to be in the war. He was afraid to be a part of the war because he knew that he would be one of the first to die, but decided to go anyway because he knew he didn’t have a choice.His family had brought him up with the idea that he should always defend his country and be proud to do so. He didn’t even like the idea that he would have to take another persons life. He responded differently because he didn’t want to be a part of the war when most soldiers are happy to fight for the country and jump at the chance to go into battle. He was an intelligent man and wanted to teach Mathematics and live his life with his wife, but he left all he had behind because he was expected by everyone he knew to go and fight for his country.All the characters in the story responded to the same cultural expectations, but some responded differently than others.

Most soldiers wouldn’t have responded to taking a life the same way that Tim did. He had a different take on the idea of killing and gave readers a different look at the thought of killing and war. The other soldiers responded as most would have by trying to forget about the dead person and go on to kill more. In the end they end up moving on to fight in the war proving that people have accepted war and killing as a way of life.

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