Personal Experiences In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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Tim O’Brien uses personal experiences to create a world of Vietnam many readers had not encountered before. In his novel, “The Things They Carried;” a collection of short stories depicting the lives of the soldiers serving the Vietnam War, O’Brien uses both facts and fiction to help the reader not only understand the events that transpired overseas, but he also tries to instill the emotions felt by those serving into the reader. During the Vietnam War, soldiers as young as 18 were drafted to serve in the American military and this greatly affected the opinions toward the war and the soldiers who served. Young men who attempted to avoid the draft were looked down upon because some Americans viewed these actions as cowardly and unpatriotic. In “The Things They Carried” the author shares with the reader his own experiences with military conscription. …show more content…

Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor. They died so as not to die of embarrassment” (647). O’Brien explains to the reader that the decision to go to war was not always an act of heroism, but in case of the Vietnam War many soldiers went to war simply because they were forced to and the decision not to join the military was seen as a cowardly act. O’Brien does a beautiful job describing the many “things” soldiers carried in Vietnam, whether it was a fear of blushing, physical objects, tools, or emotions. His literature causes us to look into the mandatory conscription implemented during the Vietnam War and compare it to the current military that consists of volunteers

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