Innocence In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

991 Words4 Pages

A 9-year-old girl named Linda is drafted to fight in a war in Vietnam. She is trained for a few weeks, then flown away. The young girl is scared and confused; however, Linda must hide her feelings in order to be respected. After a few days at war, she is tragically killed in action. In truth, an experience like this is enough to frighten even a 17-year-old girl or young man. Although it would never happen, the innocence of the young girl is a symbol for a major theme in the novel The Things They Carried. Many others throughout the novel also depict innocence, which represents the common soldier in the Vietnam war. Characters such as Mary Ann Bell, Linda, and Norman Bowker are highly comparable throughout The Things They Carried due to their …show more content…

He is a soldier in Tim O’Brien’s platoon. Once, while stationed in a muddy field next to a river, he watched his friend die. The man, Kiowa, drowned after a mortar made a crater which he sank into. Bowker blames himself for this because he turned his flashlight on minutes before to show Kiowa a picture of his girlfriend. He believes that the light gave away their position. Norman Bowker also could have pulled Kiowa out, yet stopped due to the smell. When searching for the body days later, he stayed back and searched for the picture of his girlfriend instead. This is because he does not wish to see or find Kiowa’s body. Norman Bowker feels responsible for his death, so he distracts himself with finding the picture. As Lieutenant Jimmy Cross watches, the narrator says “He felt some pity come on him. For a moment the day seemed to soften. So much hurt, he thought. He watched the young soldier wading through the water, bending down and then standing and then bending down again, as if something might finally be salvaged from all the waste” (165). As he stated, Bowker is very young. The novel even uses the word “boy” while speaking about him. This word choice gives Bowker innocence and youthfulness. When he returns to America, he commits suicide. Bowker is nothing but a young and innocent boy. He constantly blames himself for the consequences of doing a simple childish thing such as showing off his girlfriend. Norman Bowker was a victim of the war because it changed a young and innocent boy into a depressed veteran. His suicide due to guilt is a common result of war. Norman Bowker stands for all of the soldiers who committed suicide due to guilt from the war. Just like Mary Anne and Linda, Norman Bowker starts out as a young and innocent boy. However, the war ends his life just as it does to countless

Open Document