Summary Of The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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Hidden Things They Carried
In the short story, “The Things They Carried,” the author, Tim O’Brien writes about an American army platoon during the Vietnam conflict that is led by Lieutenant Jimmy Cross. Lieutenant Cross is very much in love with Martha at the beginning of the story and she sends him letters signed “Love,” but he realizes he needs to focus on the task at hand rather than daydream about her. O’Brien uses this short story to efficiently demonstrate three major points in the Vietnam conflict including: pressure put on the men to act tough, carrying both physical and emotional burdens, and mental changes in people on the battlefield.
First, the soldiers had to have a tough guy façade. When under fire, the men would sometimes squeal and beg God not to let them die, but once the attack was over, they would compose themselves. They exhibit their …show more content…

The title itself, “The Things They Carried,” indicates that the story is about the things they carried. Each character has their own physical burden to hump; the basics include pocket knives, dog tags, and water canteens, and some have special stuff to carry such as the medic, Rat Kiley, who carries morphine and surgical tape, or the big guy, Henry Dobbins, who carries a machine gun and ammo. Along with that, they each have emotional burdens to carry. For example, “Henry Dobbins carried his girlfriend's pantyhose wrapped around his neck as a comforter” (par. 17). Lieutenant Cross carries his love for Martha in the form of letters, a couple of photos, and a pebble sent to him from the Jersey shoreline that she found to symbolize the “separate-but-together quality” (par. 13) of their relationship. Every soldier in Lieutenant Cross’s platoon has their own individual burdens to carry depending on their specialty, rank, and the things they had to leave at

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