Free Things They Carried Essays: Character Analysis

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The Things They Carried is a text where writer Tim O’Brien the stories he encountered throughout his time in the Vietnam War. These stories, traumatic as well as warm and humorous, are ones that the author will never erase from his memory. It seems that O’Brien is retelling these stories to enlighten those who have never had experience on the battlefield in order to reach a certain level of understanding and to discover repercussions that it brings onto the human condition, both physically and mentally. Evidently, he wants to convey emotion within the reader. The stories also recall the life lessons that O’Brien learned about friendship, forgiveness, respect and reputation as well as foreignness and the other. However, as the reader continues to immerse
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Before the story begins, it states ‘except for a few details regarding the author's own life, all the incidents, names, and characters are imaginary’ (O’Brien, P8). However, on the following page it claims ‘this book is lovingly dedicated to the men of Alpha Company, and in particular to Jimmy Cross, Norman Bowker, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Henry Dobbins, and Kiowa’ (O’Brien, P9). Silbergleid believes that this statement ‘elevates these imaginary characters to the level of real people worthy of a dedication’ (Silbergleid, P129), therefore, blurring the line between what is fact and what is fiction. This is evident in ‘How to Tell a True War Story’ when the reader discovers that the men Curt, Rat and Mitchell are in fact fictional characters. ‘No Mitchell Sanders, you tell her. No Lemon, no Rat Kiley (O’Brien, P64). Furthermore, O’Brien created some of his characters with the intention of them being loosely based off real people in his life. For example, in an interview with Lynn Wharton, O’Brien states that the character Curt Lemon was based on a real person called Alvin Merricks, who died an instant death like Lemon (Wharton,
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