Lies and the Importance of the Use of Language

8 August 2016

Lies by John Crawford was written in 2005 and is a short story which is part of a larger book titled The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier’s Account of the War in Iraq. Crawford penned the book after his own deployment to Iraq with his Florida National Guard Unit in 2003 during the early stages of the Iraqi war. Crawford was born in Palatka, Florida and comes from a long line of military men. He likens himself to Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump. He stated in an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, “I think there’s been a Crawford fighting in every major war America has ever been involved in,” he said.

“I’m sort of like the character Lt. Dan in ‘Forrest Gump’ whose grandfathers and great-grandfathers kept getting shot in wars (Hinson, 2005). ” When asked about his deployment Crawford stated, “I was planning to enroll in a master’s program at FSU; instead I took a vacation to Iraq (Hinson, 2005). ” He further describes his experiences during the war and states that they gave him a “new level of accountability (Who is Log, n. d. ). ” Crawford began writing his book while he was deployed in Iraq and when his fellow soldiers learned of his writings asked each wondered if he was writing a “super liberal book” about the war (Hinson, 2005).

Lies and the Importance of the Use of Language Essay Example

D. G. Rosenthal, one of the soldiers who served with Crawford read the book and wrote a review which he posted on amazon which states, “His book tells it exactly like it was, with no holds barred. It covers everything from our supply inadequacies, to command mismanagements, to the reality of the war that the media never took the time to cover. Crawford is a natural author, an expert at weaving an engaging story that grips the reader firmly and swiftly (Hinson, 2005). ” Crawford ensured throughout his writing that his writing was genuine and raw.

Military members have a language all their own and it is difficult for civilians to break into and understand the dialects. In Crawford’s stories you can tell through the use of his language exactly what he was feeling without having to assume or postulate. His explanations and descriptions were vivid enough that you thought you were sitting next to him on the rooftop. His tone was casual and was able to bring you into the conversation he was having without him trying. Overall his use of language engaged the reader and allowed for a more personable experience.

Crawford chose to write in a casual tone throughout Lies which follows the conversation between two American soldiers in Iraq stationed on a rooftop (581-4). The conversation is about the return of one of the soldier’s from leave and the other soldier wishing he could go. During the conversation each of the soldiers talks about returning home in different ways, one wishing he could go, the other wishing he didn’t go back because nothing was the same. The casual tone and language used was real and straight to the point and it allows the reader to feel as if they are listening to the conversation as if they are on the rooftop with the soldiers.

According to the Perdue Online Writing Lab when writing it is vital to select a type of language that fits the readers that you are trying to influence and fits your purpose for the writing. Additionally, the use of unsuitable prose can ruin your reliability, push your readers away, and weaken your argument (2014). Crawford uses curse words liberally, writes in everyday language, and ensures that the conversations were as real as they were when he was in the military himself. His use of this type of language strengthens his position and brings his readers closer to his story.

New York Times writer Janet Maslin wrote the following about Crawford’s writing style when his book was first published: “Glimmering or otherwise, Mr. Crawford has sifted through his memories with an eye toward resonant anecdotes and literary flourishes (2005). ” During the particular scene on the rooftop the vulgar prose used between the soldiers allows the reader to see the anger that Crawford was feeling during his deployment and allows a window inside the normally closed off life of a soldier.

Diana Black states that Crawford’s “bluntly eloquent memoir immerses us in the cynicism and the day-to-day vulgarity of infantrymen” and “does not politely spare our sensibilities or protect our naivete (2008). ” Crawford’s use of language engages the reader and allows the reader to engage in the conversation without feeling like they are imposing on an intimate conversation. Where soldiers are normally closed off and inaccessible Crawford uses language to open them up and make them reachable to the reader. He uses language as an open window into emotions and feelings which are normally closed off to the outside.

Through this language you can see the anger, fear, hurt, and vulnerability that you would normally not be privy to. This was best seen in the last bit of conversation between Sellers and Crawford on the rooftop. Sellers asks how Crawford’s wife is and Crawford responds, “Yeah, she’s great. ” I put out my cigarette and lit another one, sucking in a deep breath of poison, holding it, then letting it go, I couldn’t and wouldn’t tell him what was really going on. None of us talked about stuff like that. And as Baghdad slept beneath me, I tried to believe my own lies (584).

” In the immensely private world of a soldier, Crawford’s simple use of language allows the reader in and shows them the hurt and anger he is feeling without having to come right out and tell them exactly what is going on. During part of his conversation on the rooftop he writes, “the two of us had spent way too many nights like this one, and I had started to feel like I knew Kim about as well as I knew my own wife – as well as anyone knows anyone, I guess. The despondency was more troubling because I knew exactly what he was going through.

We didn’t talk about it directly, no one did, but everyone was aware of each other’s business (582). ” He was able to engage the reader without overreaching and without trying. It is simplicity used ingeniously. The tranquil tone used to describe a tense situation shows Crawford’s ambivalence to the situation he is in. Crawford believes the “current situation is a mess but says the U. S. has to finish what it started (Hinson, 2005). ” His simple conversational style lures you into his story effortlessly and tactfully. Crawford was able to reach his readers through his use of casual tones and realistic language use.

He writes like he is speaking directly to a comrade who is sitting in front of him. This type of language allows him to connect with his audience on a more personal level and convey his story in a manner that sounds like he is speaking amongst friends. Crawford’s use of different types of proses gives him the ability reach different types of audiences while still being credible to all of them. With there being so many stories about wars and the effects of war on the soldiers Crawford has a unique ability to connect with readers and tell his story on a personal level without being standoffish.

His particular writing style, which combines casual tones with realistic language, gives his readers an overall personable engaging experience. While many war stories are written in a language that makes it hard for people who have not served in the military to understand but Crawford has the ability to make it much easier for laymen to understand and enjoy the stories of wartime chaos. While the use of language, in general, has a way of captivating readers and allowing them insight into the point of view of another person it also offers personal understanding of other’s situations and ideas.

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