Summary Of The Things They Carried By Tim O Brien

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MacKenzie Mayo The Things They Carried In the novel, The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien shares several different experiences during the Vietnam War that had a great impact on the soldiers that fought along side him and himself. Although not all the stories are connected to one another, some intertwine. Attempting to show the reader who he is then and who he is now throughout the book, O’Brien flips back and forth between the past and the present: sharing his experiences during the war and his current time being a post-war father. War takes a toll on a man in more ways than one. Many seek comfort in bringing personal items with them to battle to remember where they came from and what they have to look forward to when returning home. …show more content…

He tells the audience on the title page the this book is a work of fiction. O’Brien states in “Good Form” that not all facts throughout the book are told true. In “The Man I Killed” he mentions a killing a man near My Nye, describing the pain and injuries he gave the man. He believes that if he was not the one to kill the man, he would’ve been killed by the hands of someone else anyway. Later, he states that this even is untrue. He then begins to speak about the difference between “real truth” and “story truth.” Sometimes story truth is more true than real truth due to the emotions that the reader experiences. O’Brien’s goal was for the readers to believe these experiences were true down to the very last detail. This makes the audience grasp a better understanding of what these soldiers actually experienced in battle. In “How to Tell a True War Story” Mitchell Sanders shares a story with Tim about when a troop is on an operation in the mountains for an operation. Tim begins by saying this story is true. Later, Sanders confesses to Tim that he made up some of the events that occurred. He did this in order to have Tim know what it felt like to be out there, in the woods with him. When O’Brien returns to this memory further down the road in his mind, many events are blurred, especially details that seems insignificant at the time to remember. He does not remember everything exactly …show more content…

Before going to war, one could not fathom the emotional and physical strain it has on the body and mind. Once these men have fought in battle, the reality they face is overwhelming. What the soldiers experience is indescribable to those who were not there to witness it. In order to cope many soldiers will distract themselves from the hard truth that sits in from of them. In “Love,” Jimmy Cross keeps his mind on his love for Martha and how she is in love with him and they will be together when he returns from Vietnam. If Cross did not believe this, he would've been overwhelmed with the unimaginable reality of the war. Perception is the key to sanity in war; a coping mechanism. The soldiers also blur this line in order to deal with guilt; guilt they may have for not being able to save a fellow soldier. This is shown throughout the story “In the Field.” Cross believed that Kiowa’s death was on his watch because he allowed his platoon to stay in a dangerous area. In order to cope with the guilt, Cross writes a letter to Kiowa’s father, making sure his family knew what a brave soldier he was and apologizes for getting their son killed. Even though some of the story telling is exaggerated, this allows the audience to understand the impact these events have on the soldiers after the battle is already

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