Fear In The Things They Carried

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Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” explores the themes of fear and the emotional burdens we all carry. The Vietnam war took place in 1955 and forced a draft notice to be done. Many of the men who got drafted into the war were roughly in their 20’s meaning that they still had their whole life ahead of them but it was unfairly cut short. Consequently, through his illustration of events, O’Brien reveals the everlasting effects of needing to self isolate one’s emotions to cope with trauma. Through Tim’s personal conflict regarding the draft in “The Rainy River” the author suggests that no matter how much you’re against something, in the end the pressure of others around you will give you an outcome that doesn’t align with your beliefs. …show more content…

While on the river that separates America and Canada, Tim is faced with a wide range of emotions about what’s best for himself and his family, he’s self aware of his actions and the consequences, Tim states, “A great wide sadness came pressing down on me, a crushing sorrow, a sorrow like I had never known” (O’Brien pg.57). Tim’s indecisiveness had completely overwhelmed him with pressure and emotion, he was in tears for the reason that he didn’t know which decision would allow him to be content. He’s overwhelmed and emotional since this decision will have such an immense impact on his life, he’s choosing between life and death at this moment. A decision about a future that would involve him leaving everything behind or his other option being war. After the moral freeze that Tim is faced with he ultimately decides that he wants to be brave and go to war, Tim states, “My whole life seemed to spill out into the river, swirling away from me” (O’Brien pg.58). This reveals …show more content…

It leaves a terrible feeling of guilt and regret. After Tim kills a young soldier he’s left feeling sorrow and a long-term impact, though Kiowa assures Tim that what he did was only in self defense, Kiowa states, “Tim, it’s a war. The guy wasn’t Heidi–he had a weapon, right? It’s a tough thing, for sure but you got to cut out the starring” (O’Brien pg.120). The statement towards Heidi is important in view of the fact that Kiowa is assuring Tim that the guy he killed wasn’t innocent. The fact is that in war, there is no good or bad. Nobody is innocent, every single person has done something that they aren’t pleased with, it's something that they need to overcome in order to continue with life. Furthermore, Tim struggles with overcoming the guilt he feels. He continuously analyzes the soldier's physical appearance Tim concludes his reflection on the soldier by stating, “The young man’s fingernails were clean” (O’Brien pg.128). This statement makes it evident that the young man hadn’t been a soldier for very long, soldiers aren’t known to be clean, they’re known to be all covered in dirt and blood from enemies. In addition, the soldier seemed to be just like Tim, a young soldier who came to be drafted into a war that he was later killed in. Ultimately, the young soldier's death

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