Most of the story is conveyed in the discursive mode, but dialogue is also employed occasionally to illustrate the interactions between the narrator and his wife, or between soldiers.

Imagery (descriptive language conveying mental images) is used in connection with the action or the social setting. Here is one example in which the author uses imagery to convey the effects of war and violence:

First had a beautiful Iraqi kid, maybe seven or eight years old, in bare feet and a pretty white dress like it’s First Communion. Next she’s in a red dress, high heels, heavy makeup. Next photo, same dress, but her face is smudged and she’s holding a gun to her head. (p. 252, ll. 27-30)F


Other language devices used by the author to convey deeper meanings and appeal to the readers are similes, repetitions, rhetorical questions, and symbols.


As the short story is quite long, you will find numerous similes (comparisons) in the text. Here we explain only some of the similes, those which we consider most relevant or creative.

The simile “squawked like a chicken” (p. 252, l. 20) is used to describe the sounds made by a tortured man. The comparison with the chicken is meant to convey the idea that war reduces people to the condition of animals.

The simile used to describe an Iraqi girl on a photo who had “bare feet and a pretty white dress like it’s First Communion” (p. 252, l. 28) conveys the idea of innocence and helps build a strong contrast with the following photos which show the girl getting killed.

The simile “Marines act like they’re gonna play Rambo” (p. 253, ll.11-12) is an allusion to the popular movies starring Sylvester Stallone as a soldier named Rambo. The simile creates humor and irony...



From time to time, the author uses repetitions to bring the readers’ focus on certain aspects. For instance, in the first pages of the story, the verb ‘to think’ appears constantly, to suggest that the narrator cannot stop thinking about what he experienced in Iraq, and about his life:




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