Examples Of Shame In The Things They Carried

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Shame is felt differently by all, throughout different times and for different reasons. In the book “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, he illustrates this clearly utilizing stories from the Vietnam War or of moments after. Tim O’Brien himself is a clear example of this, as the experiences he went through and wrote about within various settings in his book capture the theme of shame and what comes with it. Shame has extremely detrimental effects which are displayed many times throughout the story when talking about his experiences before the war, inside of the frontlines, and from a support role within the backlines. O’Brien’s real first instance of shame within the book is displayed before he even joined the war. It was explained within the fourth chapter, “On the Rainy River,” in which O’Brien was forced to participate in a war he did not want any part in. Within this chapter, he explains that when he was faced with the eminent doom of war, he ran away. …show more content…

Shame is an emotion that pushes one to do things they would never have done before. Whether that is returning to fight a war, sitting on an active battlefield, committing revenge against a fellow troop member, or all of them combined, shame is able to cause one to do that and more. Even when O’Brien is faced with completely different settings and experiences, the feeling of shame causes the same reaction. He became both irrational and overanalytical, pushing his mental and physical health to deteriorate rapidly. Shame is a dangerous emotion that all are vulnerable to, yet the important part is how one responds to it. In all instances O’Brien responds to his shame with senseless actions that end up putting him in either worse or dangerous situations. Sometimes reacting this way is inevitable, but being able to identify and react accordingly can save one from the worst of situations and maybe even save a

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