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In the email from an American Soldier fighting in Iraq, the soldier writes home to his friends and family about his difficult living conditions. The email is a great example of how literary devices are integrated into writing to ease in the articulation of a point. The following essay will analyze how the soldier utilizes imagery, sarcasm, and emotional appeal to explain his experience while fighting abroad and his feelings toward this experience overseas.
The use of imagery allows the soldier to paint a vivid picture about what their life is like in the middle eastern country of Iraq. An example of this is, “Go to your vacuum, open the canister, and pour it all over you, your bed, clothing, and your personal effects. Now roll in it until it’s in your eyes, ears, hair, and… well now you get the picture.” (Line 3-5) Here the soldier is effectively putting the reader into their shoes. The detailed image the author creates allows the reader to understand the magnitude of filth the soldier must live through. Another example of imagery is, “pitch a tent in your driveway, and mark off an area inside it along one wall about six feet by eight feet…tear down three walls of your tent as seen from the street and you have as much privacy as me.” (line 8-12) The use of imagery is evident once again, the soldier using it to describe their personal living conditions. The description of the harsh living quarters allows the author to accurately describe what his life is like in the desert. Evidently, the author uses imagery to help his or her intended audience understand the difficulty of their life at war.
The soldier who wrote this email incorporates sarcasm into their writing, and the use of this literary device allows the soldier to articulate their sentiments toward their situation. An example of this literary device is, “you know it’s just perfect when you slap your chest and you cough from the dust cloud you kicked up.” (line 5-7) By stating that they “enjoy” coughing after hitting their own chest, the soldier makes it obvious that their dusty living conditions get on their nerves. No one enjoys coughing when they move around because of dust collected on their body, the use of sarcasm allows the soldier to indirectly describe their emotions. In yet another use of sarcasm, the soldier says, “Bring in a kennel full of pugs; the smell, snoring, and social graces will be just like living with my nine teammates.” (line 13-15) The soldier compares his teammates to pugs which most people associate with good things, but the author only lists out the negatives of pugs. He sarcastically compares them to the pugs, but makes it clear that it is not an enjoyable experience at all. These sarcastic remarks give the reader valuable knowledge about the soldier’s feelings while serving abroad.
Emotional appeal is a useful writing tool, it causes the reader to think, and consider their own life, oftentimes making them value the quality of their life more. An example in the email would be, “Now pack everything you need to live for four months-without wal-mart-and move in.” (line 9-10) This makes the reader wonder what their necessities would be for taking on this lifestyle, without the commodities of a city readily at their disposal. The author is appealing to their emotion, making them realize how well off the reader is at home compared to the soldier. The most prevalent use of pathos in the email is, “I don’t even feel like talking about the latrine experience. All I have to say is that, after the first time, I went back to the tent and felt like either crying or lighting myself on fire to remove the filth.” (line 25-27) Without explicitly stating what happened in the bathroom, the soldier makes the reader not want to think about how horrible it was. The soldier ensures that the reader feels grateful for their life, and understands that the soldier is suffering out in Iraq. Emotional appeal in this particular piece of writing allows the author to articulate the difficulty of his or her life, while highlighting the ease of his or her family member’s lifes back at home.
This soldier’s email is filled with all sorts of exciting details. The email is carefully written, ensuring that the audience will gain perspective into his or her life. Through the use of sarcasm, pathos, and imagery, the author details his or her experience abroad and their attitude towards being deployed in Iraq.
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