Summary Of The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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The Things They Carried, written by Tim O’Brien, focuses on the author’s experiences in the Vietnam war. This book confronts the truth about death and the wave of agony that hits after the fact. The story highlights the ways that Tim and his fellow soldiers find ways to cope with the immense amount of pain that comes with war. Throughout the book, Tim O’Brien explores the power of storytelling and how it allows those who are physically dead to remain alive in the memories of other. There are many ways in which O’Brien has found storytelling to help him confront the death that he has faced. Firstly, he has found that storytelling has the power to alter painful memories. O’Brien finds himself witnessing a lot of death in his lifetime and a …show more content…

Selection of detail is included here when O'Brien says “They were just kids; they just didn’t know.” This line makes Curt Lemon appear innocent, like he shouldn't have known better than to mess around with the grenade. Even though he was a soldier and was trained to work with these types of weapons, O’Brien defends him. He tells this story in order to keep Curt Lemon’s honor, to make him not seem like a dumb, naive child. O’Brien alters this memory with the way that he tells the story. In addition, there is the use of delightful imagery in this passage. The line, “I remember the smell of the moss.”, makes the memory more vivid by adding scenery to the story. It makes the story seem more real and brings additional memories to the surface. The sense of smell is a powerful thing and often smells stick and when the scent arises once again, that memory reappears. Adding the smell into the story allows a sense of calming which is completely the opposite of what this memory is for O’Brien. The smell of the moss alters the way O’Brien views this memory, making it less of a tragedy, allowing him to confront the death of his friend. There is also the …show more content…

Flashbacks of painful experiences are demonstrated when O’Brien recalls every detail of the man that he killed, such as the star shaped hole in his face and his clean fingernails. The line, “Small blue flowers shaped like bells. The young man's head was wrenched sideways.”, O’Brien juxtaposes beauty with destruction. Here, he has found beautiful things to compare death to in order to make it less frightening. It is hard to find flowers scary so comparing them to death allows one to feel less bothered by it. In addition, the line “He wore a gold ring on his third finger.” adds an important detail because it shows that O’Brien remembers every small detail about the man that he killed. For O’Brien, he feels that if he can remember every little detail, he is able to justify his actions and make himself feel better. Remembering every detail about the man allows O’Brien to keep his spirit alive by telling stories of him, making the death seem less haunting. Finally, admirable diction is included in the explanation of the personality of the man he killed. He includes lines such as, “maybe a scholar”, “despite his family’s poverty”, and “continue his education”. The inclusion of these lines acknowledge how O’Brien is able to cope.

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