Imagine being drafted to move thousands of miles away from the life you love to fight a war you hated. This is the unfortunate reality for Tim O’Brien In The Things They Carried. O’Brien explains his experiences of war in Vietnam, what it took to get him there, and his relationships with the other men in his platoon. He portrays guilt and pride through storytelling and intertwines the two by showing how the men often feel guilty for the actions they pursue or decisions they make based on their pride.
“That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future ... Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story” (36). The Things They Carried is a captivating novel that gives an inside look at the life of a soldier in the Vietnam War through the personal stories of the author, Tim O’Brien . Having been in the middle of war, O’Brien has personal experiences to back up his opinion about the war.
Right from the first few sentences the author already starts to impress. There is a mix between the writer 's memoir and autobiography. With a memoir a writer will usually recount scenes from his or her own life. The way the writer writes depends on the conditions of the mental and emotional for the writer. When he starts off saying that "this is one story I 've never told before" signals two points to the reader. First, the story builds a confessional tone and creates an immediate empathy between the reader and the O 'Brien character. Second, in the context of the next chapter, the reader knows that this is an unresolved story, perhaps a fragment of memory that, given O 'Brien 's attitude of storytelling, is being crafted into a story as a means for understanding the events of the past. But the story isn 't abruptly moving
In the novel The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien expresses to the reader why the men went to the war and continued to fight it. In the first chapter, “The Things They Carried,” O’Brien states “It was not courage, exactly; the object was not valor. Rather they were too frightened to be cowards.” The soldiers went to war not because they were courageous and ready to fight, but because they felt the need to go. They were afraid and coped with their lack of courage by telling stories (to themselves or aloud) and applied humor to the situations they encountered.
The guy wasn’t Heidi- he has a weapon, right?” (126) However, by giving insight on the man’s life, the reader learns that similarly to O’Brien, the man he killed originally had no intention of fighting. He wanted to be a scholar. The collections of short stories in “The Things They Carried” come together to show how complex war can be.
In Tim O’Brien’s novel, “The Things They Carried,” about the Vietnam war, courage is described as a necessity for all soldiers. He uses both him and his comrade’s circumstances to describe this. Throughout the novel the motif of courage evolves as characters serve in the Vietnam War. Being drafted into the Vietnam war forced O’Brien to become a soldier and participate in the war. His distaste for the war made it difficult for him to find the mental courage to fight in Vietnam which he thought was avoidable.
The novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien uses many effective rhetorical strategies throughout. In the chapter On the Rainy River, Tim O’Brien tells the audience a story he has never told anybody. Not even his parents, siblings or wife. He narrates the events and emotions that he experienced after receiving a war draft notice during the summer of 1968. O’Brien is ashamed about how he dealt with the notice and he feels as though he is “too good” to go to war.
This quote is from O’Brien the author himself admitting that he couldn’t be brave enough to leave his country and that he was embarrassed of what he was trying to do. So, he told himself that he would go to war, kill and maybe die because of the embarrassment idea he made. The idea of this quote is to explain what he feeling/confusion between what he’d do. Should he go to war? Or should he leave his loved ones and country behind.?
Hidden somewhere within the blurred lines of fiction and reality, lies a great war story trapped in the mind of a veteran. On a day to day basis, most are not willing to murder someone, but in the Vietnam War, America’s youth population was forced to after being pulled in by the draft. Author Tim O’Brien expertly blends the lines between fiction, reality, and their effects on psychological viewpoints in the series of short stories embedded within his novel, The Things They Carried. He forces the reader to rethink the purpose of storytelling and breaks down not only what it means to be human, but how mortality and experience influence the way we see our world. In general, he attempts to question why we choose to tell the stories in the way
The Things They Carried is an interesting novel not like many others in that it is not one continuous story on a single plot line, but rather the novel is a collection of fictional short stories from a young soldier’s time stationed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The stories do not follow a specific order either, and they often are set in different time periods, like how Chapters 1 (The Things They Carried), 2 (Love), and 3 (Spin) are set in the time period when the main character, Tim O’Brien, is deployed in Vietnam, while Chapter 4 (On the Rainy River) is set before the war started right after Tim was drafted, and tells the story of him trying to escape the war. The stories tell the reader the story of the differing backgrounds of many
O’Brien tells the readers about him reflecting back twenty years ago, he wonders if running away from the war were just events that happened in another dimension, he pictures himself writing a letter to his parents: “I’m finishing up a letter to my Parents that tells what I'm about to do and why I'm doing it and how sorry I am that I’d never found the courage to talk to them about it”(O’Brien 80). Even twenty years after his running from the war, O’Brien still feels sorry for not finding the courage to tell his parents about his decision of escaping to Canada to start a new life. O’Brien presented his outlook that even if someone was not directly involved in the war, this event had impacted them indirectly, for instance, how a person’s reaction to the war can create regret for important friends and
“They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide, and in many respects this was the heaviest burden of all, for it could never be put down, it required perfect balance and perfect posture.” (O’Brien 77) Tim O’Brien clearly demonstrates to the reader that one of the most difficult burdens to bear is being a coward because even though carrying over fifty pounds of equipment is hard on the body physically cowardice is among the worst pain because you can never put that feeling down for even a second to relieve the pain. The novel The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, intends to show the reader how the platoons soldier’s cowardice and dread can effect them in the form of regret later in
This is evident when Mr. O’Brien says, “I would go to the war – I would kill and maybe die – because I was embarrassed not to,” (pg. 57.) In the end the author realized what he must do and went back home, so he could fight in the Vietnam
Although he has no way of knowing anything about the man’s life, O’Brien attempts to humanize the soldier by creating a story for him, and memorializing it in order to place meaning on the man’s life. It is interesting to note that parts of O’Brien’s description of the soldier’s life reflect his own feelings. For example, while speaking about the man’s recruitment to the army, O’Brien tells, “…secretly… [the war] frightened him. He was not a fighter.”
Literary analysis America’s war heroes all have the same stories to tell but different tales. Prescribed with the same coloring page to fill in, and use their methods and colors to bring the image to life. This is the writing style and tactic used by Tim O’Brien in his novel, “The Things They Carried”. Steven Kaplan’s short story criticism, The Undying Certainty of the Narrator in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, provides the audience with an understanding of O’Brien’s techniques used to share “true war” stories of the Vietnam War. Kaplan explains the multitude of stories shared in each of the individual characters, narration and concepts derived from their personal experiences while serving active combat duty during the Vietnam War,