Summary Of The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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With the abundance of tragedy and war in this world, everyone has an experience connected to all the violence. Moreover, people try to distance themselves from reality in order to find happiness or acceptance of these painful occurrences in their lives. In an analogous manner, the author Tim O’Brien shares stories of soldiers in the Vietnam War who try to evade their ordeals. In The Things They Carried, he explores how the effects of war during and after combat cause the soldiers to discover coping mechanisms to deal with all the violence and loss. While the soldiers are in Vietnam, their personalities adjust to fit the environment and reflect the burdens they carry. Often, they blame and accuse themselves for incidents that no one has control …show more content…

Without the ability to forget and persevere, they could not find the means to distance themselves from a life of war like the character Tim O’Brien. Instead, through the use of coping mechanisms, they try to escape their painful worlds. Gaining a sense of humor and lightheartedness about the war, finding courage, and writing everything down on paper helps each of the soldiers survive. These skills allow the soldiers to handle the devastating aftermath of war. With the lasting effects of the Vietnam War weighing on their lives overseas and home, the soldiers attempt to distance themselves from reality in order to survive each day mentally and physically during and after the war. During the Vietnam War, the soldiers carry many things with them, ranging from personal objects that remind them of home to feelings of burden and responsibility. These commodities keep the soldiers sane and give them something to hold …show more content…

When one enters a violent situation, that person is immediately reshaped in order to cope with their surroundings and experiences. Regarding the soldiers in the Vietnam War, it is no different; their personalities harden and mature, so they are capable of handling any scene that they encounter. Furthermore, a loss of innocence occurs. Going into the war, they are ignorant to the harsh realities of war, but afterwards, they come out changed: “Pranksters must become killers, dreamers must become realists — or someone dies” (McCarthy). The long-term exposure to the constant violence and paranoia causes the soldiers’ personalities to develop into harsher and grimmer versions of themselves. With this instant loss of innocence from the war, the soldiers need to maneuver away from this reality occasionally in order to keep their true personalities. In this way, they are creating a false world to shield themselves from the dangers of war, which can lead to a major personality shift. However, when the war completely takes over psychologically, the individual cannot cope any longer such as in Rat Kiley’s case: “His whole personality seemed out of kilter” (O’Brien 212). Because of his prolonged time in the war, he begins to imagine his organs rotting away, an act that costs him his personality. While some soldiers can develop a mechanism to cope

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