Analyzing O 'Brien's The Things They Carried'

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The Things They Carried Analysis More often than not, a reader picks up the story, “The Things They Carried,” and notices the unavoidable overload of symbolism intertwined. The heavy burdens the soldiers carry is portrayed extremely well by the author’s use of symbols, as it is one of the main focuses the author seeks to make evident to the reader. However, the author does not only want you to focus on the symbols of the burdens these fictional characters carry, but he wants you to understand what they really went through and that his story symbolizes the lives of these real, brave soldiers. “War is hell, but that's not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and …show more content…

It is evident that he wanted to give the readers insight into stories and real-life experiences during the war. According to an article published by Alex Vernon, O’Brien was careful to avoid focusing on the war while advertising his story, in hopes of portraying his book in a different light than all the other novels focused around the negative and horrific realities that war is. He uses his own real-life experiences and twists them slightly to correlate with the story, while still providing a informative take on things. O’Brien was wounded by a grenade during his time that he served. He rewrites this experience as the narrator using a grenade on a Vietnam soldier. Depicted in Vernon’s writing, we can see a “double-mirror effect” occur. “The narrator imagines the man he killed as very much someone like himself: born in 1946, bookish, not an ideologue or much of a warrior at all, but there by force of tradition and an inability to turn his back on the land that reared him…The author uses fiction to imagine the man who almost killed him which creates the double mirror effect,”

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