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The Things They Carried Critical Analysis Essay

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The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien is a narrative that looks into the realities of war that goes beyond just the action and storyline of combat. O’Brien gives an inside look on the thoughts and emotions that soldiers in a combat zone must be able to control to be effective at their job. O’Brien uses a listing technique to give better insight into the burdens soldiers carry with them to show the psychological burden of war. O’Brien utilizes a unique listing technique to serve as a narrative to convey his thoughts and experiences about war. The majority of lists in the first chapter of The Things They Carried blend both physical items and psychological burdens the soldiers carry, and O’Brien lists these items together in a detailed,…show more content…
O’Brien depicts a picture in which men are required to perform as brave soldiers, but they become overwhelmed and are consumed by their environment. O’Brien states “they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said Dear Jesus and flopped around on the earth” (18). He then continues to describe that after the chaos, they must compose themselves and put on a brave façade for each other. O’Brien is trying to emphasize to his readers that the men and women who fight in war are human- they carry their own emotional baggage and still react to fulfil social expectations of their roles as infantrymen. During the violence they can be seen reacting as humans. Once the explosions and the gunfire subside, they gather themselves and return to acting as soldiers. Warfare has been an unfortunate reality during the past, present, and will be in the future. Tim O’Brien writes The Things They Carried not to be an action story, but as a reflection on the human element present in the soldiers who fight. O’Brien uses the listing narrative to highlight these human traits to show the idea that soldiers are humans too, and he highlights the humanity found in
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