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In This Field Pastiche

The sun finally began to set as I glanced forward to see 17 of my fellow accomplices walking as
swiftly as our chains would allow us, our noses occasionally bumping into the back each others
heads when the royal guards surrounding us stepped out of rhythm. We moved quickly in the
crisp evening air, the noble residents, high upon their pompous balconies, throwing upon us
looks of disgust and disapproval as us lowly criminals walked through their precious courtyard
to our supposed trial. Leaning back to balance out the weight of the chains binding our hands,
we lazily looked around and feigned disinterest but kept our minds awake and alert. Kaiya was
here somewhere. Kidnapped by the kingdom as political leverage, our mission was to track her
down and bring her back home with us. It was going to be a good night. Definitely one of the
best. After all, the drought continued to be relentless all week and the main river, key to our
escape, was beautifully parched. A brownish dust whipped across the courtyard with a harsh
hand. Off to the east, I finally heard the rest of our crew start the mission when booming
explosions tore through the dry air and the guards around us became frantic as the palace
shook from the force of our bombs. The 18 of us effortlessly destroyed the pathetically
distracted guards with swift kicks and knocks to the head that anyone but the formally trained
soldiers wouldve been quick enough to respond to and watched as chaos ensued. I quickly
took in the situation, shouted out orders and watched as everyone fanned out in search of our
precious Kaiya among the panicking nobles. We glowed through the dust that now engulfed
the entire courtyard, reveling in the thrill of anarchic commotion. Earlier that afternoon, we
had discussed the risk of splitting up, having the opportunity to strike the palace was rare and
we had failed multiple times trying to retrieve her, but we were determined to find Kaiya and I
decided that splitting up would increase our chance of finding her. I refused to lose a member
of family like this. It just wasnt right. Kaiya had been so full of life and laughter, a stark
contrast to the rest of our crime syndicate, and I would not have the light of our group be
kidnapped and used as a political hostage to force concessions from our crew.
Slowly, I looked up to the sky as the dust finally settled and a cloudless sea of stars
stared back at me. In the distance I heard the palace guards futile attempts to make a last
stand against my team. After clearing the entire courtyard of any pesky guards who might try
to interfere with our search, I readily enjoyed destroying whatever I could get my hands on in
the palace. I was thankful that the nobles were such materialistic people, their lives were so
easy to destroy. With the palace secured for now, I guarded the courtyard entrance from any
stragglers that dared try to stop our plan.
But then a shiver ran through me as I heard the movement of reinforcements off in the
distance. The moon was outracing us and Kaiya was still nowhere to be found.
I heard a shout overhead and glance upwards to see the shadowy outlines of a someone
waving from the roof of the palace under the dim light of a dying torch. Not an adult though,
her figure was much too petite and I knew instantly that the only one careless enough to
balance on the edge of roof during a mission was Brynn. The drought winds had started up
again and it was impossible to hear anything she was trying to say. She held up the signal for a
failed mission and I felt my heart sink that one of our rare chances to storm the palace from
the inside had ended in failure and began preparations for the final razing. As her torch died,
Brynns face started to merge with the shadowy abyss embracing her and soon, she was
nothing more than a murky blob and it was impossible to tell whether I looked at Brynn the top
drug smuggle in our syndicate or Brynnly Foster, one the beloved teacher at Harvest Town
Academy. The night erased our identities of day and replaced them with the masks of shadows
and secrecy we had trained ourselves to wear when working the night. It was difficult
sometimes, living double lives, but I avoided that kind of thinking. I had no time to waste on
doubt. I refused to be distracted by hesitation, it was my choice to live like this after all. Kaiya
had been the same, quickly understanding what living a double life meant.


I chose this chapter to pastiche because it had a straightforward structure where it rotated
between descriptions of nature and events that were happening. The plot was also very
straightforward so it was more simple to replicate. Instead of searching for a dead body, I had
my characters look for someone who had been kidnapped. I took this approach because the in
both my pastiche and the original, politics had caused the situation to happen. In TTTC, the war
was created by the government, the soldiers were in Vietnam because of politics. In my
pastiche, Kaiya had been kidnapped to be used as political leverage against the crime syndicate
that the narrator was a part of. This followed the basic plot structure of political situations (like
the war) causing hardship for the characters. My pastiche followed the general outline of the
characters searching for someone and while the TTTC characters were on a search and retrieval
mission, my characters on a search and rescue mission. Both revolve around the same plot
point but by changing it so that the missing person was alive, it changed the mood of the
characters. In TTTC, there was a more depressing atmosphere since Kiowa had died but in my
pastiche, there was this sort of thrill and adrenaline because not only did the gang want to
rescue Kaiya, they were excited to destroy the palace. I also switched all the genders so
everyone ended up being a girl. I realized how underrepresented females were in the novels I
liked to read because at first I thought, "wow it's weird when everyone's a girl," but when I
thought about, I hadn't noticed the gender ratio of all men (in this particular scene) in TTTC
because it's never considered weird if everyone is a guy. One thing that I noticed while
imitating O'brien's style was his attention to the nature around him. Whether it was the trees,
the swamp, the muggy air, he used the nature descriptions to symbolize the isolation and
hostility of war. Cross even remarked that even "the rain was a war" (157) to show how nature
reinforced the awfulness of war and everything was just as he put it, "a shit field". I did my best
to incorporate Mother Nature in my pastiche but changed the monsooned swamp of Vietnam
into a drought stricken kingdom where the stillness of the air symbolized the tension that ran
between the crime syndicate and the palace - sort of like a calm before the storm when they
started destroying everything in the palace in revenge for Kaiya. Either way, nature helped
reflect the atmosphere of the passages and it was very interesting to see how Obrien
incorporated this into his story and fun to try it out myself! To be honest, I dont think I did this
pastiche right since my story is SO unlike the original but I enjoyed the challenge and if nothing
goes right, I used the exact amount of sentences as Obrien used in the pages I picked!