PTSD In Kiowa's The Things They Carried

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PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder occurs when a person has been through either emotional or physical trauma. Veterans often times develop PTSD due to the physical and emotional trauma that comes along with being in a war. Symptoms of this disorder can include; “depression, worry, intense guilt and feeling emotionally numb. People with PTSD also display impulsive or self-destructive behavior and changed beliefs or changed personality traits” (WebMD). Lastly, states that people with PTSD are also very likely to partake in substance abuse in order to numb out their internal turmoil. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a debilitating condition that is blatantly displayed in multiple characters of The Things They Carried, by …show more content…

Kiowa is one of the men of the platoon who shows emotional numbness. In the first chapter, Kiowa is said to “wish he could find some great sadness, or even anger, but the emotion wasn’t there and he couldn’t make it happen” (pg. 17). Norman Bowker shows symptoms of depression, the feeling of being emotionally numb, and feeling disconnected from society in the chapter “Speaking of Courage.” For the first part of the chapter it’s a narrator speaking about how Bowker wanted to do and say things but instead plays them out mentally. An example of this is when he drives around and sees the woman he loves- who is now married- and imagines stopping to talk to her: “They’d talk for a while, catching up on things, and then he’d say ‘well, better hit the road…’” (pg. 134). This quote shows how Bowker imagines scenarios in his head and feels disconnected from the people he loves, so much that he can’t even stop to speak to them. In the same chapter, Bowker displays the feeling of being disconnected from society or life when the narrator says how Bowker feels as he’s driving aimlessly around town: “A tour bus feeling, in a way, except the town he was touring seemed dead” (pg. 137). PTSD can not only be expressed internally, but also externally. It can become more dangerous and drive people to do things they wouldn’t normally

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