Figurative Language and
Surrealism in The Things They
Carried
MS. MOORE’S AP ENGLISH CLASS
Figurative Language
 Authors use figurative language to evoke a reader’s
senses and to make their writing descriptive and
colorful.
 Types of figurative language:
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Simile
Metaphor
Alliteration
Imagery (sensory)
Personification
 Tim O’Brien uses this tool in his fiction to create a
sense of realism in his stories.
Surrealism
 In The Things They Carried, O’Brien states that
within his stories “there is always that surreal
seemingness, which makes the story seem untrue,
but which in fact represents the hard and exact truth
as it seemed.” (p. 71)
 Definition of Surrealism in the context of TTTC: How
something seems to have happened vs. how it really
happened.
Is there a connection?
 The use of figurative language within a story,
especially within O’Brien’s stories, can give the
reader the impression that the story is plausible, if
not completely true.
 The figurative language compels the reader to believe
the story, even though it may only be what “seemed
to have happened.”
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Figurative Language and Surrealism in The Things They Carried