Soldiers In The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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More than half a million service members face mental health challenges during and after war. During war, soldiers are exposed to many different traumatic events that raise the chances of facing mental health challenges. The most common mental health problems soldiers are more likely to carry with them after war is PTSD, depression, alcohol addiction, and anxiety. In the book, “The Things They Carried,” written by Tim O’Brien, characters carried things that are both literal and figurative. While the soldiers carry heavy physical items, they also carry mental, emotional, and physical baggage. To begin with, Norman Bowker is a character that carries mental baggage. For example, “The war was over and there was no place in particular to go. Norman Bowker followed the tar …show more content…

One character, in particular, is Jimmy Cross. “While Kiowa explained how Lavender died, Lieutenant Cross found himself trembling. He tried not to cry,” (16). Jimmy Cross was carrying the emotional baggage of guilt for the death of Ted Lavender. He experienced such emotional distress because he couldn't stop thinking about Martha the entire time the war started. He felt he did not focus on the safety and well-being of his fellow soldiers and because of that, he blames himself for the death of Ted Lavender, an emotional baggage that he had to bear with so long as the war had ended. Emotional baggage was also shown after Rat Kiley had shot a baby water buffalo. “Rat Kiley was crying. He tried to say something but then cradled his rifle and went off by himself,” (76). This shows that Rat Kiley's actions for shooting the baby buffalo had to do with the emotional baggage of grief that he was carrying for Curt Lemon’s death. Rat Kiley had lost one of his best friends in the most gruesome way possible right in front of him. His sadness and anger takes over him and that's why he ends up taking it all out on the baby

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