“It was a bad time. Billy Boy Watkins was dead, and so was Frenchie Tucker. Billy Boy had died of fright, scared to death on the field of battle, and Frenchie Tucker had been shot through the nose. Bernie Lynn and Lieutenant Sidney Martin had died in tunnels. Pederson was dead and Rudy Chassler was dead. Buff was dead. Ready Mix was dead. They were all among the dead.”
So begins Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien. In six sentences he repeats the words “was dead” five times and “death” or “died” three times. With this repetition, he sets a horrible scene—a battlefield in Vietnam where the men expect to die—and it becomes easy to sympathize with Cacciato as he sets off on foot for Paris. France.
What is O’Brien Doing with this Repetition?
Read all about it on my blog.
Reminds me to feel lucky about sitting in on a workshop with this man on Friday. So easy to take for granted opportunities that have already presented themselves to you. Do you ever get to experience in person the mind which many, many other very smart people all over the world to this day spend hours upon days upon weeks contemplating? Have you ever been privileged enough to use the phrase, “Actually Tim O'Brien, I see something different”?
I do. I have been. I am.