A Sense Of Thing Analysis

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The Importance of Things
Detailed lists of everyday objects carried by soldiers in Vietnam may seem uninteresting or unconnected at times, but by citing these very items, candy, cigarettes, and letters from home, the author gives the reader a preview of the soldier who carries them. These items are a representation of what they hold dear in the world. By specifying the exact weight of the items they carry the author gives you insight into the struggle each soldier must endure. In "The Things They Carried," author Tim O’Brien uses lists of ordinary objects carried in the soldiers’ gear to give the reader a glimpse into the personality of each soldier and what they find important.
“First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named …show more content…

Much as for Brown the “thingness of the object” is the psychoanalytic “Thing in excess of the object” (42), in The Things They Carried, the “things” humped by the soldiers represent what is real and approach, asymptotically, the traumatic reality of war” (Silbergleid 135).

The soldiers carried a lot more than just physical weight and the mental and emotional burden weighs them down. Our narrator, Jimmy Cross, believes that he carried the idea of Martha so heavily that he caused Ted Lavender’s death. Ted Lavender carried so much anxiety he has to carry tranquilizers and marijuana to soothe him.
In a more abstract sense they carried burden and guilt. “He carried a strobe light and responsibility for the lives of his men” (233). “They all carried ghosts” (235). “They carried their own lives” (236). They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide, and in many respects this was the heaviest burden of all, for it could never be put down, it required perfect balance and perfect posture.

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