Confusion In The Things They Carried

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In the story ‘The things they carried’ written by Tim O’Brien, the soldiers of Alpha Company are tormented by the guilt, trauma, confusion. With the only thing they can hold on to is hope. In both before and after the Vietnam war. Some of the characters work through the pain and put the events behind them, only to resurface at times while for others it becomes all too much. No matter who you where in the war, everybody walked away with guilt. Jimmy Cross will never forgive himself over the death of Ted Lavender. “He had loved Martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead” (pg 7) Cross has to live with the fact that his distraction over Martha caused Lavender to die and as commanding officer he had responsibility over him. O’Brien feels the blame over the death of “a short, slender young man of about twenty” (pg 129) With the pain of killing this young man keeps O’Brien “writing war stories” (pg 129). With this remorse he feels the writing of the stories gives the man a history and a wife. In a way he is trying to bring back the dead man to life with stories. What makes this interesting is that O’Brien looks at the face of the man he killed. On another occasion he does not look at the bodies of dead civilians, one would think that not…show more content…
The only type of confusion in the novel is that of moral confusion, in the story “On the rainy river” O’Brien has a chance to flee to Canada and thus flee the Vietnam war. This is where the moral confusion comes in. It is that internal fight that O’Brien has, the confusion he is feeling. If he flees he is free, but will never go back to see his family. But if he stays he is doomed to go to war and maybe die. Either decision O’Brien makes will impact his living for the rest of his life. In the end O’Brien goes to war but calls himself a “coward” (pg. 55). What O’Brien did, is what most people consider brave going to war “defending” your country however O’Brien considers that maybe fleeing would be even

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