In all honesty, it was very difficult to figure out my defining moment for this literacy narrative, although after much reflection, I was able to narrow it down to one specific occasion. During my junior year of high school, the class was assigned a book titled, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Similar to other books we plan on reading this year, this book was also a memoir, including several stories and experiences from his time serving in the Vietnam War. He describes his experiences with his fellow soldiers and how they manage in the jungles of Vietnam during war time. What comes along with these types of war stories is an immense amount of imagery and sensory details. The gory and descriptive imagery in this book is what created my defining moment.
Reading this book was undoubtedly the most memorable literature experience for me during my years of adolescence. The book heavily resonated with me for several reasons, but they fell under the idea that it was the imagery in this book that made it so significant. One of the reasons was that this book was all about a war. O’Brien’s memoir was stocked with gruesome detail and description, all depicting his interactions with the soldiers and the fighting he took part in. I was able to really put myself in his shoes, and see myself in the same situations he was describing because of how well he was explaining them; however, there is one scene that I was able to visualize more than the rest due to the intensity and depth of it. The most vivid part of this chapter, “Sweetheart on the Song Tra Bong”, was when this innocent, naïve girl is characterized as having emotionless, jungle green eyes, surrounded by skeletons and various bones, while wearing a necklace of linking human tongues. O’Brien’s portrayal of this scene allowed me to envision myself in that exact moment, as if I was standing right next to him, seeing the same horrors he was. The colors, the scents, the fear being described all captured me into the book, making me unable to put it down; this had never happened to me before.
In future books, after The Things They Carried, I tried to use the same tactics that I did with Tim O’Brien to help me relate to the text better, so that I would become engulfed into the story more. Hamlet by Shakespeare is a prime example of where I was able to utilize the amount of description and detail to envelop myself into the story. In the one of the last scenes where the King is poisoned, I remember being able to picture every single detail, down to the way his eyes looked as he sunk to the floor and died. Imagery is what makes me a successful reader.
Being able to envision myself in the books that I read has made both reading and writing easier, as well as allowing my ideas to flow and connect. Despite this being the moment that I have decided to choose, I will admit that I am still unsure as to what type of reader and writer I am. The way we read and write changes all the time. I do not believe that once a person figures out what helps them be able to read and write well, that they stop developing, and I believe that there can be multiple defining moments in one’s life that show them what type of reader they are. People need to continue to grow and evolve as learners and be able to adapt to new strategies to help them be successful readers and writers.