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In the Lake of the Woods

Essay by   •  June 1, 2011  •  Essay  •  600 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,990 Views

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Tim O' Brien is a novelist that has always written of his life through his characters. Tim O'Brien was born on October 1, 1946 in Minnesota and served in Vietnam for about 2 years. The book titled In The Lake of the Woods is one of the many books that O'Brien has written and is not the only one that leaves suspicions in his readers. He has constantly portrayed his past through his characters for example John Wade. This main character is a man that came back from the Viet Nam war a hero, or so everyone thought.

The set up of this novel is odd because it is not actually set up in chronological order, the book starts off where the main characters are married. Throughout the entire novel there are flashbacks of when Kathy (John Wade's wife) was still in school, Wade was still in war then it goes back to when she is missing. In addition to the flashbacks there are chapters called "Evidence" and "Hypothesis" these allow the reader to create different scenarios of Kathy and Johns out come. The novel covers years of John Wade's life, it tells the readers and gives insight of his childhood years, war times and his married life. This is a whole lot more than just a simple plot.

This novel was written from many perspectives but the main ones were the narrator (the author) and the perspectives of the characters. The narrator lays out evidence and allows the reader to make more and more assumptions with the turn of each page. The use of the other perspectives is to get the imagination of each reader to build onto their assumptions. O'Brien tells us that if we are not happy with this outcome, we should go read another book.

Formality would change the whole story; Tim O'Brien uses informal language throughout the majority of the book. The narrator uses a lot of casual everyday language and when Wade has dialogue he speaks freely... well most of the time. When John Wade returns from the war and strives to become a politician this required for him to be nice and formal at moments. On page 154 there is a simple conversation between Tony (runs campaigns for John) and Wade; Tony is a bit freer and Wade wants to be taken seriously. O'Brien uses a lot of imagery when narrating John's actions. There are moments in the book when John simply admires Kathy, and an example on page 50, O'Brien describes Wade's action as to how he just stares at her and her tan and well every detail about her. He demonstrates what people can pick up as being true love. Metaphors are used in the book as well the best known for this book is when John writes in a letter about the snakes and tries to make it sound romantic and tells Kathy that they should be like that snakes he had previously seen. On page 61, he compares their love to the snakes he saw that were swallowing each other to their love. The writing is strong, blunt, but plain at the same time because it gets to the point, but not an

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