Coping Mechanisms In The Things They Carried And Tim O Brien

1435 Words6 Pages

Combat is one of those incidents, where the best and the worst of people will be shown. The effects from combat could last minutes to a lifetime and will define people for the rest of their lives. To overcome the effects, people must have coping mechanisms. In the book, The Things They Carried, a platoon of soldiers is followed in their quest to survive the Vietnam War. The soldiers developed coping mechanisms to deal with stress so they can function normally and survive the war. Also, coping mechanisms had life changing effects on Lt. Jimmy Cross, Bob “Rat” Kiley, and Tim O’Brien (The Narrator) and they were either saved or it led to their destruction. To understand how coping mechanisms work a person must have to be in a stressful problem. …show more content…

The person had to deal with death and the reality of war under the worst case scenario. Bob “Rat” Kiley was that soldier and one of the many soldiers that left something in the war. He had lost his friend Curt Lemon and that’s the first sign that the war has been turning to be painful for him. This coping mechanism for the death was to write letters to lemon’s sister and he shot a baby Water Buffalo. This coping mechanism is seen in the chapter “How to tell a true war story”, shows how he has been affected and explained the toll the war had taken on him. One paragraph stated the following “Curt Lemon was dead. Rat Kiley had lost his best friend in the world. Later in the week he would write a long personal letter to the guy's sister, who would not write back, but for now it was a question of pain. He shot off the tail. He shot away chunks of meat below the ribs... Rat went to automatic. He shot randomly, almost casually, quick little spurts in the belly and butt. Then he reloaded, squatted down, and shot it in the left front knee. Again the animal fell hard and tried to get up, but this time it couldn't quite make it...All the while the baby buffalo was silent, or almost silent, just a light bubbling sound where the nose had been. It lay very still...Rat Kiley was crying. He tried to say something, but then cradled his rifle and went off by himself.” (75) This event had caused Kiley to …show more content…

His coping mechanism that he uses is through his writing about the Vietnam War. He is writing because he is trying to deal or understand what happened in the war. In the chapter “The Lives of the living Dead”, explains that through O’Brien’s writings, he able to come to peace at what he observed and did in combat. He may not understand why events had happened because he has not remembered the most traumatic experiences clearly. Even if his friends are dead, he will be able to remember them and his surviving platoon, through his stories to immortalize them. The main point is how he has to deal with death from a young age to the combat zones. In a way he blames himself for the deaths of his friends or failing to save them, but he failed to understand that it is not his fault. He just needs to find a way to understand since he is forty three years old and has to find closure, O’Brien at the conclusion of his book said “I'm skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy's life with a story.” (233) He realized through his writing that he was carrying things with him that needed to be explained to him or it was going to hurt him mentally and physically. He had been thinking that he had to save his

Open Document