Connotations In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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Although Tim O’Brien and the rest of the soldiers return to their houses at the end of the Vietnam War, they did not actually retire to their homes. Even though the words “house” and “home” have the same definitions, their connotations are polar opposites. A house is described as an actual building where people live, but a home is a place of familiarity that one longs to return to in order to feel comfort and support. For the soldiers in Vietnam and Tim O’Brien especially, their idea of home is altered by their experiences in the war, leaving them drowning in feelings of exile (Chen). Without any place to go or any home to return to at the end of the war, the soldiers are left to discover new coping mechanisms for their lives on their own.A home is supposed to be the place where they can escape from their past realities and advance forward, but without this…show more content…
In the case of Tim O’Brien, he uses writing in order to cope with his time in the Vietnam War. Unlike other soldiers like Norman Bowker, O’Brien stayed sane throughout his time after the war, which is attributed to the stories he wrote for years. His stories allow him to immerse himself into a fictional world, even if it is based on true events, and hand all his burdens from the war to one of his characters, Tim O’Brien in the case of The Things They Carried: “It occurred to me that the act of writing had led me through a swirl of memories that might otherwise have ended in paralysis or worse. By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself” (O’Brien 152). By separating his memories of the war from his daily life after the war, O’Brien is able to escape his actual memories, transfer them to a piece of literature that can be shared with the rest of the world, and carry on living in a way that his burdens from Vietnam do not interfere at
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