Strategies In The Things They Carried

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When going through traumatic events humans tend to use specific mechanisms in order to carry on with their lives. These strategies can be effective however some may be unhealthy. Tim Obrien’s, “The Things They Carried” follows short stories of soldiers in the Vietnam war. Throughout the book, the soldiers go through many difficult experiences. The men must fight battles internally as well as externally. Such as violent fights against their enemies, within their own group and mentally within their own minds. In order to survive through these hardships, the soldiers each develop coping mechanisms, specific to their own experiences. Depending on what the men went through some of them use multiple strategies as others do not help them. During …show more content…

Some may let their grief, trauma and anger show clearly on their face. Others let it fester in their heads. In the “things they carried” the men turn to violence as a reaction to the traumatic events taking place. During the war, the soldiers are surrounded by violence and it becomes a part of their daily lives. Thus, allowing violent acts to seem like an ordinary reaction to shock and stress. The soldiers learn to release their anger and grief through violence. This is demonstrated by Rat Kiley, as after Curt Lemon’s death he lashes out in anger on an innocent animal. Following Curt Lemon’s death, Rat goes up to the baby buffalo the soldiers had found and tied up for the night and brutally shot him. As Tim describes, Rat Kiley’s shot “wasn’t to kill; it was to hurt.” This shows that due to witnessing his friend's death Rat turns to violence as a response. He felt hurt therefore he released his anger by hurting something else. Rat Kiley’s violence is his response to the tense situation he is presented with. As well Tim O’Brien begins to turn to violence after being shot, as Bobby Jorgenson was not able to save him in time. Being shot caused Tim to be injured and leave his group for a while. This created a disconnect between him and those he felt closest too and could relate to. However, when Tim met his old group of soldiers he states, “I didn't fit anymore. They were soldiers, I wasn’t.”(188) Due to this Tim feels a deep hatred for Jorgeson and in order to cope with the feeling of loneliness and betrayal he turns to violence. Tim O’Brien decides he needs to get back a Jorgeson, he explains; “I wanted to hurt Bobby Jorgenson the way he hurt me.” Displaying his unhealthy strategy to deal with the repercautions of war, Tim attempts to get revenge on Bobby. Due to the fact that he had felt as though Bobby Jorgenson was responsible for his loss of his closest

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