The purpose of the flashbacks is to expand our understanding of the characters and to show how events have shaped the way they behave. Flashbacks also create uncertainty and tension.
LANGUAGE AND STRUCTURE
Cormier’s skill is seen in the brutal vocabulary which emphasises the reality of war and illustrates vividly the experiences that have shaped the veterans’ minds.
Cormier uses symbolism to add depth, so that an object or place suggests something significant – Francis’s duffel bag represents his sense of guilt.
The first-person narrative allows Francis to speak to the reader directly, which gives us insight into his thoughts and feelings and engages our sympathy.
Cormier places contrasting ideas next to each other to engage readers – the happiness of the Wreck Centre is set against the outbreak of war.