Eventeen In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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In war, soldiers and civilians will experience the loss of friends and families. In Tim O’Brien’s work, The Things They Carried, the reader is introduced to soldiers fighting in the Vietnam war who lose their comrades’ loves due to mishaps. These soldiers in combat, along with civilians, learn to accept or become numb towards death by understanding the situation they are in and by finding comfort in oblivion. Early in the plot, the reader is made aware of how the soldiers comprehend their allies’ deaths. According to the author, when Lieutenant Cross’ team was contemplating about who is to enter the tunnel, “Lee Strunk drew the number 17” then he laughed (O’Brien 10). Through analyzing the context of the number seventeen, it becomes clear …show more content…

Furthermore, as reported by O’Brien, after Lee had lost his leg when he detonated a rigged mortar, the team “heard that Strunk died somewhere over Chu Lai, which seemed to relieve Dave Jensen of an enormous weight” (O’Brien 63). An analysis of this quote and previous interactions between Dave and Lee reveals that Dave will not have to kill Lee like what they promised each other if either of them obtained a disability.. In other words, Dave is relieved about Lee’s because he did not wish to be the demise of his friend. Similarly, right before Curt’s death, Lieutenant Cross states, “At one point, I remember Mitchell Sanders turned and looked at me, not quite nodding, as if to warn me about something” (O’Brien 67). The details of Curt’s …show more content…

If asked about the warfare, the sedated soldier, Ted Lavender, would reply, “Mellow, man. We got ourselves a nice mellow war today” (O’Brien 33). Indeed, it is a fact that Ted is physically and mentally numb to his chaotic environment due to him using his tranquilizers to calm himself. Here, in making this comment, Ted is displaying how he is avoiding the reality of the battle by actually numbing his body and mind to have a less stressful life during conflicts up until the moment he perished. In further accordance to what O’Brien witnessed, Rat Kiley maliciously harmed a buffalo, but “it wasn’t to kill, it was to hurt” as Rat “put the rifle muzzle up against the mouth and shot the mouth away” for instance (O’Brien 76). However, Rat did not inflict grievous wounds to the buffalo out of vileness, but abandons his humanity and consciousness to find enjoyment as a sadistic person to cope with the death of his best friend, Curt. Delving deeper into the darkness, when the soldiers burned a little girl’s house down and dragged her family out, “the girl kept dancing” and “she put the palms of her hands against her ears” (O’Brien 129). From this behavior, the reader can assume that the child purposely made herself ignorant of her surroundings by blocking out noises and occupying herself with her passion of dancing. The essence of an innocent girl avoiding the catastrophe that has struck her

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