Coping Mechanisms In The Things They Carried Essay

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In "The Things They Carried" by Tim O’Brien, coping mechanisms are central to the experiences of the soldiers in the Vietnam War. O’Brien’s work explores the various ways in which soldiers cope with the physical, emotional, and psychological traumas of war. Coping, in this context, represents the soldiers' attempts to manage the stress of combat and maintain their sanity in an environment of constant fear and danger. Through the characters and their stories, O’Brien demonstrates the importance of coping mechanisms in times of extreme stress. The soldiers in the Vietnam War are portrayed as losing themselves in the chaos and trauma of combat. Through the stories of the soldiers and their experiences, O’Brien explores the ways in which war strips away one's sense of identity and humanity. The author himself is depicted as losing himself in the war. O'Brien served in the Vietnam War, and his experiences inspired much of the book. Through the character of Tim O'Brien, the author explores the ways in which war can strip away one's sense of self and purpose. This is seen, especially when O’Brien says “ there was that coldness inside me. I wasn’t myself, I felt hollow and dangerous” (O'Brien 197). O’Brien, in the sentence, exemplifies the trauma that many soldiers injured well being out and how the recovery can cause them to no longer …show more content…

Lavender “went to heavy on tranquilizers” (O'Brien 31) to help him deal with the fear and uncertainty of combat. He is described as being "scared" and "nervous" throughout the book, and his drug use is a way for him to escape the reality of the war (O'Brien 31). However, Lavender's coping mechanism ultimately fails him, as he is killed while under the influence of drugs. His death serves as a reminder of a reminder that sometimes your coping mechanisms will not save you from the thing you are running

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