The irony in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is crucial to understanding that the mental burden the soldiers carry are heavier than their physical burdens. Each soldier is required to carry their entire lives on their back throughout their tour in Vietnam. The soldiers carried not only weapons and the means of survival, but individual objects that are unique to them. While the individuality of the tangible objects that each soldier carried is supposed to keep them sane, it is these very objects that provides an even heavier mental burden of guilt and pain that eventually drove them to insanity.
By carrying the pebble of Martha around, Jimmy Cross creates a false hope of them being together, knowingly distracting him from his duties as …show more content…
The purpose of the drugs are to calm his nerves, but the fact that he goes to the extent of using tranquilizers multiple times a day only shows just how mentally burdened he is by the war that is constantly surrounds him. “Carrying drugs would certainly not make Ted Lavender exceptional in Vietnam, but his dependence upon the drugs makes his fear visible and that is what distances him from the others... All of them carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide... Ted Lavender makes his own fear, and therefore everyone's fear, visible.” (Piedmont-Marton 8) Lavender is not the only soldier in the war, but is the only one as described by in the book, that takes tranquilizers in the platoon. By physically showing calmness in a battle zone, Lavender is only further proving just how mentally unstable he is. While the other soldiers choose to hide their fear, his drug use exposes them for what they truly are, scared. While being scared humans natural response is to run away, freeze or hide, like how Piedmont-Marton states. But Lavender does not do that, instead he charges into the war with drugs by his side. He exposes everyone else’s fear as well, to become drug addicts like him. However, the irony in Lavender’s drug use and stance that Piedmont - Marton does not take is that …show more content…
Kiowa was most pure person in the platoon and in their eyes, possibly in the entire war. He comforted them in their times of guilt and gave remorse for their sins that war forced upon them. Because Kiowa was their protective angel, the act of dying the field nicknamed “shit field” makes his death that much more aggravating. O’Brien “brought the moccasins because [he] wanted to bury part of Kiowa where he died, and he thinks if he's the one to do it, it will help assuage some of his guilt over his friend's death.” (O’Brien) O’Brien had carried Kiowa’s moccasins for years waiting for the day that he could return them to the field to hopefully settle his soul. By placing them in the same spot as the owner, O’Brien only hopes that it would relieve him of his guilt for not saving Kiowa. However, because O’Brien is not the reason for Kiowa’s death and knows that he could not save him, the placing of the moccasins will not relieve his guilt because it is not his
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Quotation Analysis “It wasn't as if they had a choice. They were soldiers whose choices had ended when they had signed contracts and taken their oaths. Whether they had joined for reasons of patriotism, of romantic notions, to escape a broken home of some sort, or out of economic need, their job now was to follow the orders of other soldiers who were following orders, too. Somewhere, far from Iraq, was where the orders began, but by the time they reached Rustamiyah, the only choice left for a soldier was to choose which lucky charm to tuck behind his body armor, or which foot to line up in front of the other, as he went out to follow the order of the day”(Finkel 54).
Weight and Truth, two terms with definitions that appear as simple and concrete ideas. Simply put, Weight is the measure of how heavy something is. Truth is a fact about an event or idea. However, in the Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a fictional novel about a squad of American soldiers in the Vietnam War narrated by a character who takes the author’s name, O’Brien uses his own definitions of Weight and Truth. The men carry physical and mental burdens both during and after the war.
“Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried tranquilizers until he was shot in the head.” Pg. 2 This is ironic because the Ted was the most frighten person in the group who was scared to die and somehow he was the first victim to die. “The thumb was dark brown, rubbery to the touch, and weighed 4 ounces at most.” Pg.
He would miss and obsess over her everyday in battle. Other people judged him for this. Jimmy witnesses one of his men Ted Lavender get shot in the head. He blames himself because he feels it was his love for Martha that stopped him from focusing on his men. He said ¨ He felt shame.
In the book The Things They Carried, people experienced serious mental trauma. Not only did some, if not all, of them come back home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but they also came back to a nation full of hate and uneasiness towards the veterans. These veterans came back home riddled with guilt and visions flashing before their eyes every time they closed them, people’s worst nightmares put into real life, and yet these veterans are dishonorably discharged, with statements saying that they must not have been good enough for the war. Tim O’Brien, the author of this book, decided to tell us all of the war stories he will never be able to forget, in order to help us picture the unimaginable horrors that all of these veterans went through.
Quotes: 1. “Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried 34 rounds when he was shot and killed outside Than Khe, and he went down under an exceptional burden, more than 20 pounds of ammunition, plus the flask jacket and helmet and rations and water and toilet paper and tranquilizers and all the rest, plus the unweighted fear” (O’Brien 6). This quote characterizes Ted Lavender as an anxious soldier who was precautious, but his precaution did not save him
Tim O’Brien states, “Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war” (O’Brien 16). In this quote, Tim O’Brien explains that since Jimmy Cross blames himself about Ted Lavender’s death, he will always be in lieutenant’s head. Thus, the lieutenant will always feel the guilt. With this, Tim O’Brien makes the reader think that Jimmy Cross is the person to blame since he is the head of the group and he has to pay more attention to his plans. Having questions about his love, Martha, in his mind instead of being careful about his men is the reason of him feeling guilty that “the lieutenant’s in some deep hurt” (17).
(gradesaver) This is always good for a laugh. When Lavender is killed, the others try to convince themselves that he is just high, is in a higher place, has taken so much dope that he's up there floating in the clouds somewhere. To help themselves believe this, the soldiers all partake in smoking what's left of Lavender's dope. This anecdote illustrates that drug use, though it may have been insubordination according to strict army definitions, was also simply a form of escapism for the
Martha had a big effect on Jimmy cross 's during his adventure in Vietnam. “Jimmy Cross 's had loved Martha more than his man , and as a consequence lavender was dead now and this was something he had to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war and life.” Martha was a young lady that Lieutenant Jimmy Cross was obsessed with. It was very possible the distraction of Martha caused lavender to die. Although Martha never loved cross.
The Things They Carried “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien is a short story set during the Vietnam War. In the story, O’Brien lists many different items soldiers in the Alpha Company carried with them as they humped across the rugged terrain. Many carried necessities such as rations, matches, ammunition and things of that nature; however, many soldiers also carried quite peculiar objects such as condoms, pantyhose, and M&Ms. Readers can grasp a closer insight of the characters’ lives after further examination of the symbolism and meaning of the things they carried.
The True Weight of War “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien, brings to light the psychological impact of what soldiers go through during times of war. We learn that the effects of traumatic events weigh heavier on the minds of men than all of the provisions and equipment they shouldered. Wartime truly tests the human body and and mind, to the point where some men return home completely destroyed. Some soldiers have been driven to the point of mentally altering reality in order to survive day to day. An indefinite number of men became numb to the deaths of their comrades, and yet secretly desired to die and bring a conclusion to their misery.
The fact that some characters in the story took tranquilizers to calm down their nerves clearly depicts that, the war period was depressive to the soldiers (sparknotes.com). For example, Rat Kiley carried morphine, plasma, malaria tablets, surgical tape, and every one of the things a medic must carry. The way that Kiley carried, beneficial necessities demonstrates that he is a decent medic committed to doing his service well, yet the M&Ms spoke towards something else. Kiley's optimistic and compassionate point of view toward the war and life when all is said in done. The tranquilizers carried by Ted Lavender express towards his dread of the battling in the war and his powerlessness to face reality, rather choosing to escape from it by taking drugs.
For example, Jimmy has been in love with Martha and carries her letters. These letters are “signed Love, Martha, but Lieutenant Cross understood that Love was only a way of signing and did not mean what he sometimes pretended it meant. " Jimmy’s daydreaming about Martha is a way of escaping the war and his responsibilities as a leader, which later results in guilt. When a comrade is killed he thought that “he had loved Martha more than this men” and that “this was something he would have have to carry like a stone in his stomach for the rest of the war.” Crosses feels guilty for fantasizing about someone who doesn't even love him and denying his duties as a
On both sides, countless lives were cut short and wasted. They were denied their innocence by death. Several examples of this in The Things They Carried include Lavender, Kiowa, and the young communist man that O’Brien kills with a grenade. "He was not a fighter. His health was poor, his body small and frail.
Kiowa knows it is wrong to bring war into a place of peace. With this peace of mind, it shows how good of a person Kiowa is. It showed why people like him as a person. In a like manner, O’Brien discusses morality in the chapter “The Man I Killed.”