Chapter Analysis: The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

783 Words4 Pages

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York, NY: Houghton, 1990. Print. 233 pages.

The Things They Carried This book was chosen for review because it provides a vivid insight into the thoughts of a soldier during the Vietnam War. Though the story is a work of fiction, Tim O’Brien bases every character in the book off of real people and the actual events soldiers went through. The Things They Carried displays the so commonly unspoken side of war: the aftermath. Everyone likes to think that every soldier comes home alive, healthy, and happy that they served their country. In reality, during the Vietnam War, most came home, if they came home, injured and mentally scarred for life. Tim O’Brien inserts himself into the story as one of the …show more content…

Throughout the novel, O’Brien describes the literal things they carried (guns, ammunition, etc.), and leads the reader to believe that this is the point of the story. It is only after seeing the experiences of each of the men in the squadron that it becomes clear to the reader that O’Brien is not focusing on the things they carried to, or during the war, he is speaking of the depression, mental instability, and horrible memories they carried home. As shown through O’Brien’s writing of “They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried,” that O’Brien’s thesis of the worst part of war is not the bullets flying past one’s head or dying at all, it is the mental burden one holds if they return home, is made perfectly clear (O’Brien 213). This thesis is crucial because it truly puts the reader into the boots of a Vietnam …show more content…

The moral of this novel is unfolded extremely well. The character O’Brien plays in the novel, Tim, is a writer that, years later, chronicles the stories of the men and the entire novel is parallel to a flashback. Many of the stories of the hardships that the men went through, and brought home memories of, are almost unbelievable. In response to this, O’Brien writes, “In many cases a true war story cannot be believed. If you believe it, be skeptical. It's a question of credibility. Often the crazy stuff is true and the normal stuff isn't, because the normal stuff is necessary to make you believe the truly incredible craziness,” showing that war is rightly where impossible does not exist, only improbable, (O’Brien 19). These improbable events would haunt the members of the squadron that survived for the rest of their

Open Document