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The Right Stuff, the Things They Carried, and the Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Comparison

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Comparison essay

The different works based on the Vietnam War, psychologically challenged people, and the astronauts who brought America into space all connect their reader to each unique experience that the characters from each story faced. These subjects are the main ideas of The Things They Carried by Tim Obrien, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Dr. Oliver Sacks, and The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. In each of these stories the writers give the reader an insight to their own versions of the conflicts of each work.

Every story is like a living being, and like all living beings it must have a soul. The soul of every story is the tone. After comparing all of the stories we find that each author has their own specific way of using tones to bring the reader closer to the character. Tim O'Brien starts by using a tone of homesickness to bring us closer to the main character by relating to the feeling of him wanting to go back home to his love and his old life. O'Brien also utilizes a tone of affection for his comrades, but the reader is still able to detect a slight tone of nostalgia as he speaks of each one and the things they carried. In The Right Stuff, each change of perspective in each chapter brings a change in tone. From the wives who are surrounded by a tone of worry and concern, to the arrogant, presumptuous tone shrouding the pilots, Wolfe uses a careful hand in trying to haul the audience into the book. Dr. Sacks writes with a sympathetic and compassionate air as he sees each patient and tries his best to help his or her case.

If the tone of a story is the soul then the only way to describe diction is by calling it the bones. Sentences should be organized in a way that get the image across and keeps the power in the words without making the reader want to walk away from the book. All three of these books are easy to understand because the language used is not necessarily simple, but remains reader friendly. Wolfe structures his sentences in a way that keeps them simple and repetitive, yet interesting and affective. Dr. Sacks uses diction and syntax to transform a medical journal into a reader friendly narrative while keeping the facts straight and the details graspable for the non-medically trained mind.

The themes of these stories share the author's perspective on an issue of life, with the reader. There are some themes that run parallel throughout all three stories. There's the idea of courage that most, if not all, characters have to face whatever challenges stands in his or her way. Dr. Sacks is courageous as he faces each helpless case. Tom Wolfe's characters each need courage as the women stand their ground knowing that any second they could become the next widow, and the men knowing that at any moment they could be striped of "the right stuff". Tim O'Brien and his comrades also need their courage to accomplish such heroic feats

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