A Literary Analysis Of Tim O 'Brien's The Things They Carried'

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Literary Analysis on Short Stories In the short story of Tim O'brien's The Things They Carried uses symbolism to suggest that items that the soldiers Kiowa, Lavender and Cross carried represent their values and where they come from. O'brien successfully shows in depth what each character mentioned in the short story represents in relation to the narrator by mentioning the items and memories that each individual carried. The narrator (O’brien) lists things that the soldiers carry with them, both tangible and intangible. Other members of the unit are introduced through descriptions of the things they carry, such as Ted Lavender who carried tranquilizer pills and excessive amounts of ammunition, Jimmy Cross who carried photos of his lover back home and Kiowa who carried a hunting hatchet. O'Brien introduces readers to the short story’s primary characters by describing the “things” that the soldiers carried. The level of detail O'Brien offers about the characters is expanded upon and shown throughout …show more content…

Not only was it physical items, but it was also memories brought, like the ones brought by Jimmy Cross of his girlfriend at home. O’brien highlights the things that these soldiers carried in a way to set up the the rising action and help the story reach a climax. In reference to the character Kiowa, the things that he carried create a perfect picture of what type of person Kiowa was. A deeply religious American Indian who carried a tomahawk and a bible in his rucksack. Kiowa throughout the short story is clearly the silent leader of the platoon. If there is a mentor figure for O’Brien, it is Kiowa. Kiowa is the perfect example of a static character, one who does not change. Kiowa shined in this area because of the knowledge and wisdom that he continues to provide the narrator

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