In Tim O’brien’s short story, “The Things They Carried,” O’brien explains more than just what people face at war. O’Brien gives detail of each burden, struggle, and memory each soldier carries into the war. He describes of a battle more destructive than a war filled with guns, bombs, and knives. He describes of a mind battle, one in which is the hardest any man can face. A mind battle controls your every decision. O’Brien explains it is important to have your mind battle-free so distractions will not flood your attempt of making successful decisions. Each soldier carried more than just big controlling weapons; they carried distractions. Each soldier carried individual different items which caused them each to be distracted from the real mission. The items were determined by necessity. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters along with the two photographs of Martha, the woman he loved, in his wallet. Henry Dobbins carried his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck as a comforter. Dave Jensen, who practiced hygiene, carried floss and a toothbrush. Mitchell Sanders carried condoms. Norman Bowker carried a diary. Rat Kiley carried comic books. Kiowa, a devout Baptist, carried a New Testament bible, which was presented to him by his father. Each item held a small story. The individual items gave each soldier a memory to hold on to. …show more content…
He explains of the battle of facing heartbreak while trying to control everything else. Lieutenant Cross carried love letters from a girl name Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College. More than anything, he wanted Martha to love him as he loved her, but the letters were filled with pointless conversations, exclusive on the matter of romance. Martha singed each letter with “Love, Martha,” but Lieutenant Cross understood that Love was only a way of signing and Martha did not mean it in the way he pretended she did. Cross thought about Martha each and every day. (Pg.
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Avygayle Titco English V01B Professor Carlander 02/07/18 Losing a Grip on Life Tim O’Brien’s short story, The Things They Carried, isn’t just any typical war story. He views the perspective of a soldiers eye and the intangible and tangible items they carry along the journey. Through the use of depicted details, it helps the readers feel like they are part of the battlefield. We feel like we’ve known these characters by the way O’Brien describes them with the personal items they carry.
The Soldier’s Fears First, in Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” the tangible items carried by the soldiers reveal their fears of losing a connection to home, fear of the unknown, fear of reality. Holding onto their precious items from home helped them hold onto reality. Second, “the soldiers all had fears of the war and they all carried with them certain items that gave them the comforts of home.” (366). “First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha” (366) he loved her and this was a way of keeping her close, “Henry Dobbins carried his girlfriend’s pantyhose and wrapped them around his neck as a comforter” (372) he must have felt wearing his girlfriend’s pantyhose connected her to him, “Kiowa carried an illustrated New Testament and an old hunting hatchet from his grandfather” (367) his grandfather must
Author and war veteran Tim O’Brien, in his novel The Things They Carried, unveils the struggles and obstacles that soldiers are faced with. What they must overcome will help them gain back the life they used to live. The combination of the moral and emotional struggles, along with the memories that are trapped within them, make their lives tough to get back. The constant battle between themselves and the memories they have experienced, develops a barrier for soldiers to go against to gain back their lives from before.
The Things They Carried is a book by Tim O’Brien, who appears as a character in this fictional book as a sort of self-insert in this fictional story. The book has 232 pages, and is divided into several unnumbered chapters. It was published in 1990 by Houghton Mufflin, and was printed in the USA. The story goes in a rather confusing and awkward order, rather than telling the story in a linear passage of time, each chapter takes place during a different part of O’Brien’s life. It’s written from O’Brien’s point of view many years after the Vietnam war.
Have you ever been in such a stressful situation while trying to think normal? In “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, the author describes the situations these troops are put through. Along with the situations, the author tells the audience the thoughts and feelings going on with the men. Showing that the men are affected by the situations they are exposed to. In “The Things They Carried” O’Brien explains the equipment that the characters need to carry to be prepared for the worst.
In the first chapter, the author lists things some of the men in Lt. Cross’ corps carry. Some items were necessities and some gave the reader ideas of what kind of person one was based on their possessions. Lt. Cross carried photographs, such as a girl named Martha, playing volleyball or in front of a brick wall. Letters signed love at the end of them, and a lucky pebble from a girl he was infatuated with. From these personal items, we can clearly see that he loves this girl and keeps her close to his heart.
“More than anything, he wanted Martha to love him as he loved her, but the letters were mostly chatty, elusive on the matter of love” (O’Brien, Page 101). Readers could say that Lieutenant Cross has become reckless and unfocused to his duty as a soldier. His mind drifts off at the thought of being with Martha back at home. He uses the infatuation of her to take his mind completely away from where he is, which seems okay, but not when you have other lives to protect. O'Brien describes the things that these soldiers carry with them; such as books, letters, possessions from home, their heavy machinery, weapons, sleeping bags, etc.
Physical articles such as guns, ammunition, food, and water, are carried to survive and keep the soldiers healthy, whereas intangible ideas are brought along with the soldiers to maintain a healthy mentality. For example, “they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb” (Back Cover). This quote explains an elusive idea of what the soldiers carried with them. Soldiers being forced to fight in the war do not go home unharmed emotionally, even if they were not physically injured. Each soldier goes home carrying feelings of guilt, confusion, and “unrelenting images,” while each soldier still fighting in the war carries their love, passion, and perseverance.
People go through life experiencing both big and small events. The soldiers had to deal with fear, guilt ,and death at war. These things can change a person for the better, or for the worse, but it’s what they do after the events that make them who they are. For soldiers in war, this is what they have to deal with everyday when they were in Vietnam fighting. Tim O’Brien tells of these stories in The Things They Carried to show how war can change their mentality and their destiny in life.
The short story, “The Things They Carried,” written by Tim O’Brien (1990), appears to be an unpretentious narration that list the tangible items carried by the soldiers while fighting in the Vietnam War. Upon further review it becomes clear that the lists of “things” have a much deeper meaning and carry an abundance amount of emotional weight. Not only is their load a physical burden that consist of hefty equipment that is necessary for survival, but they also bear the burden of internal conflict. The internal conflicts identified in the story center around the disturbing afflictions carried by the soldiers revealing that the men long for an escape from their dreadful surroundings, feel responsible for the lives of their fellow soldiers,
Imagine that you are in a crisis, you cannot only just grab what you can carry but what is of utmost importance to you…what would you carry with you? In the short story “The Things They Carried” we follow US Soldiers in the Vietnam war who are trekking through the jungle. The story touches on different characters and things of importance that they carry on their person for comfort, need and those without monetary value but sentimental value. I carry a picture of my sons 1st school picture, its not just a wallet size picture I bought either.
The irony in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is crucial to understanding that the mental burden the soldiers carry are heavier than their physical burdens. Each soldier is required to carry their entire lives on their back throughout their tour in Vietnam. The soldiers carried not only weapons and the means of survival, but individual objects that are unique to them. While the individuality of the tangible objects that each soldier carried is supposed to keep them sane, it is these very objects that provides an even heavier mental burden of guilt and pain that eventually drove them to insanity.
Jimmy Cross is the first lieutenant who carries pictures and letters from Martha, the woman he loves who—sadly—does not love him back. The pictures and letters from Martha symbolize Jimmy’s longing to be loved and comforted. It is ironic that although he is the first lieutenant who is expected to take charge and lead others, yet he never took charge of his own love life. This is a regret and burden Cross carries to the end of the story. “It was very sad, he thought.
In modern society, we’ve associated a number of characteristics to define what a man should be; macho, chivalrous, courageous and so tough as to never show any form of emotions. In our story we read about a troop of soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War who witness death on a daily basis, being both men and soldiers with a mission to carry out they hide their fear and other emotions behind superstitions and trinkets. The most important component to a soldier is his psyche, or his ability to think strategically through any situation. With your mind preoccupied your skill declines, which can lead to a number of things going wrong. The theme presented in “The Things They Carried” supports this stereotype while also exposing the negative impacts.
“He was a soldier after all,” many people believed that soldiers should be tough and shouldn't show their emotions. Tim O’Brien tells what items the soldiers carried in the most physical sense. However, in The Things They Carried by Tim O’brien, miniscule items have tremendous meanings. Sometimes certain items remind us of loved ones whether good or bad. Jimmy Cross carried a pebble on him at all times.