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
In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, the author retells the chilling, and oftentimes gruesome, experiences of the Vietnam war. He utilizes many anecdotes and other rhetorical devices in his stories to paint the image of what war is really like to people who have never experienced it. In the short stories “Spin,” “The Man I Killed,” and “ ,” O’Brien gives reader the perfect understanding of the Vietnam by placing them directly into the war itself. In “Spin,” O’Brien expresses the general theme of war being boring and unpredictable, as well as the soldiers being young and unpredictable.
Tim O’Brien is a novelist and a retired soldier from the Vietnam War. He wrote a semi-autobiographical novel titled, The Things They Carried, in a format that seemed as if we were in the novel itself. As readers continue with this novel one can envision and have the impression of deaths and all the effects war has on a soldier from the war. O’Brien explores the effect of war on an individual through fictionalized stories he tells in this novel in order to show how humans can change through drastic events that happen to them due to the war. Being in a war affects the way we think and the people we love.
Tim O’Brien, author of “The Things They Carried”, tells a war tale which contains no heroes because his story showcases the blunt reality of war. Many men, in the past, did not go to war to become heroes; rather they were forced to enlist because of the military draft or because they felt cowardly due to the expectations of society. Tim O’Brien chose to share his story because he wanted non-military civilians to learn the truth about war; the realistic side of war that the news and Hollywood films won’t show you. War is hell; it is painful, traumatizing, and completely life changing, to say the least. In my opinion, O’Brien gives readers an inside look and understanding of how there are no heroes of war, because fighting for a cause that
Prewriting: Introduction: Often revered as a battle to defend Vietnamese ideologies, the Vietnam War is personified by many as a horrendous, unnecessary war that yielded to many detrimental after-effects, specifically on soldiers. In O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, initially it seems to take the same old generic personification, but after further reading, it is evident that Tim O’Brien’s desire to take on a different representation. Rather than taking on the violent, bloody interpretation of war, O’Brien focuses more on the relationships developed between the soldier and the severities experienced whilst in war. Throughout the novel, the themes of shame and guilt are manifested through the post war stories of the veterans, demonstrating that no soldier is able to escape this perpetual chasm of culpability.
This is one of the concepts that O’Brien expands on multiple times throughout The Things They Carried. In order to fully understand the surreal horror of the war in Vietnam, it is important to grasp the central idea of unexpected death. In The Things They Carried, the primary examples of unanticipated deaths come from men in O’Brien’s own platoon‒Ted Lavender, Curt Lemon, Lee Strunk, and Kiowa. It may have been war, and death may have been expected, but the death of a peer, colleague, or even a friend could never
Men went through so many tasks during the Vietnam War physically and mentally. The beginning chapters focus on training for war and being prepared for the worst. For example, when there is a sergeant in a room with the marines. The sergeant walks to the chalk board and writes “AMBUSHES ARE MURDER AND MURDER IS FUN” (36-37). The
Almost all of the chapters in this book are narrated in a unique way. O’Brien emphasizes the theme of shame in his novel. The author uses this word in many different cases, the majority of which are connected to war and its characteristics. O’Brien argues that a soldier’s greatest motivation for going to and staying in the war is a fear of shame, even though many other factors can be considered as well like women.
In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, the reader receives insight as to what soldiers experienced during the Vietnam War and what thoughts consumed their minds in those times of hardship and heartache. As Americans, we typically picture military men and women as emotionally and physically strong, while in reality, that may not be the case. They deal with more emotional and physical trauma than we come to understand. People who carry physical or emotional burdens tend to seek some kind of release or do something to feel relieved of their burdens. O’Brien uses stories about the men in his platoon to depict how soldiers are bound by their own emotional weights, and each have a different way of trying to release themselves from those tensions.
It’s scarier than I would imagine sometimes it could make you do things you would never imagine yourself doing. If you would ever ask me what I think about the Vietnam War or what I think about it. I would tell you to me it’s a different life and you’re a different person as soon as you walk into it and out of it. ‘’they carried the soldiers greatest fear which was the fear of blushing men killed and died because they were embarrassed not to it was what had brought them to war in the first place nothing positive no dreams or glory or honor’’
It was recorded nearly 2.6 million soldiers were sent to Vietnam to fight a gruesome war. About 58,000 of those 2.6 million soldiers perished by the time the Vietnam War was over (Vietnam War Statistics, 1997). These men had to live and die with strength, wits, impassive, and remorseless, all given by the society they were viewed in. Tim O’Brien a Vietnam War veteran born in Austin, Minnesota, was drafted into the war in 1968. He went through hell and back to write his book the Things They Carried (1990).
Most soldiers in the Vietnam War felt the shame of resisting war as, “Men Killed and died because they were embarrassed not to,” (21). For this reason, soldiers adopted cowardice towards themselves if their morals were not towards the Vietnam War. Society creates a margin where there is cowardice with choosing and not choosing to go to war. O’Brien reflects on this by saying, “I understood that I would not do what I should do,” (57), “I was a coward. I went to war,”
Tim O'Brien's short story, "The Things They Carried", is a personal narrative of the time he served in the military during the Vietnam War. His experience in the war along with his platoon shows how soldiers have to conform to the specific image of a tough, brave, and emotionless warrior courageously fighting in the heat of battle. However, the story shows young soldiers who try to follow this image, but end up showing individuality by being their true selves. In the nature of war, most soldiers will try to conform to this image, however showing individuality isn't always a negative thing. At first, the group of very young soldiers who have just been drafted try to show their masculinity by hiding their true emotions such as fear.
Readers, especially those reading historical fiction, always crave to find believable stories and realistic characters. Tim O’Brien gives them this in “The Things They Carried.” Like war, people and their stories are often complex. This novel is a collection stories that include these complex characters and their in depth stories, both of which are essential when telling stories of the Vietnam War. Using techniques common to postmodern writers, literary techniques, and a collection of emotional truths, O’Brien helps readers understand a wide perspective from the war, which ultimately makes the fictional stories he tells more believable.
The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, is an emotion provoking collection of short stories about the Vietnam War. One story “Speaking of Courage” is a post-war story about Norman Bowker, who was a member of the Alpha Team, and him struggling to cope with what had happened in Vietnam, while looping around a lake in his hometown. The next story of the cycle, “Notes”, is written by Tim O’Brien (the character) in the first person as a footnote or background about why “Speaking of Courage” was written and what happened to Norman Bowker. We learn that he sends a letter to Tim O’Brien to request a story written about his struggle to cope with the past and the death of Kiowa. The letter that Norman Bowker sends to Tim O’Brien was a plea for help from
The Vietnam War leaves a legacy of moral confusion with each and every soldier who serves. Soldiers are fighting for a cause they do not necessarily believe in, killing people who do not necessarily deserve it, and watching their brothers die beside them. Tim O’Briens’ book, The Things They Carried, illustrates the soldiers struggle to define morality throughout the confusion of the war. On the Rainy River, Tim O’Brien faces what he feels is his moral obligation to answer his country’s call and fight in Vietnam, and a personal moral issue with the reason for the war.